Friday's Happy Hour shenanigans once again took place at City Tavern. As happened once before, the fellow in Victorian attire made an appearance, which made my evening. But there was a new element of excitement to the evening:
THE CITY OF DALLAS HAS BANNED SMOKING IN BARS.
The ban went into effect a couple of weeks ago, I think, and it has made bar-hopping noticeably more comfortable for those of us with, say, raging topical allergies to cigarette smoke. At the Elbow Room last week, I could actually see the ceiling, and not through a cloudy blue haze!
Why was the lack of nicotine-laced smoke exciting, apart from a dermatological viewpoint? Because the City of Dallas Police are out in full force, writing tickets right and left to those who violate the ban.
Consequently, after a member of the band slated to perform at City Tavern entered the bar and proceeded upstairs, cigarette firmly planted between his lips, a host of policemen, and a plainclothes policewoman, swarmed into the bar. After the initial excitement died down, I proceeded to the Water Closet, and was surprised there by the plainclothes woman, who sniffed the air as I informed her there was a short wait to use the facilities. She ducked back out, at which point I noticed the badge clipped to her stylish belt.
Because the happy hour group consists almost solely of those in architecture-related fields, and because there is a high proportion of architecty people that smoke (and drink), the happy hour crew ended up sitting outside in the cordoned area of the sidewalk "belonging" to City Tavern.
You could tell this caused some consternation amongst the non-police downtown security guards, as they tried to decide whether or not it was worth it reporting the smokers, who were failing to keep at least 25 feet from the door of the bar, as required by the city ordinance. Of course, in downtown, that would put smokers in the middle of the street, so the security forces, when made aware of the fact, opted not to report the sidewalk smokers for tickets. The police were kind enough to overlook the transgression, also.
I know some people in Dallas will claim that the smoking ban will keep smokers away from bars, but I, for one, won't miss it at all, and I'm more than happy to accommodate my smoking friends by sitting outside in pleasant weather.
It's just too bad my face also breaks out because of pollen...