YOU CAN SMOKE IN THE VORTEX
We are proud to accommodate smokers and non-smokers alike, and we will continue to do so as long as this choice is not taken away from small business owners by evil fascists. If you personally cannot tolerate being around any type of smoke, The Vortex might not be the place for you. Fortunately, there are many other non-smoking options available in our city. If you choose to smoke in The Vortex, make sure you know where our designated smoking areas are, as they may change depending on the time of day. Be advised that we do NOT allow the smoking of cigars, pipes, clove cigarettes, the nasty sticky-icky, or anything illegal.
THE EVOLUTION OF OUR SMOKING POLICY
In 1992, we created a cozy little neighborhood bar featuring craft beers, quality liquors, and a large selection of single malt scotch. A secret hideout for serious drinkers. Exactly the kind of bar we would frequent, even if we didn’t own it. Casual, fun and politically incorrect. Since The Vortex was originally designed as a social gathering place for adults, we also allowed our customers the option to smoke cigarettes.
After having been open for awhile, we were visited by a city official who informed us that a new smoking regulation had been passed. Since we served food, we would now have to designate 50% of our seating to be “non-smoking.” Our original location was a tiny corner pub with an open upstairs loft. Since the physical bar was on the main floor that became our “smoking section.” The fact that all the smoke rose up to our “non-smoking” section in the loft was irrelevant. We were now in compliance with the arbitrary new law.
On a few occasions over the years we had been approached by people that would complain that certain articles of decor, as well as our smoking policy, were not appropriate for children. We always replied that perhaps these people should not be bringing their children into our bar.
Then in July of 2005, nanny-state bureaucrats and anti-smoking zealots, enacted the “Georgia Smoke-Free Air Act.” This legislation was originally drafted as an outright ban on smoking inside all buildings within the State of Georgia. It was simply another attack on individual choice, and private property rights. But in the final hour, one legislator pointed out the lie that this proposed legislation was all about “protecting the children” by including an ammendment that would allow bars, nightclubs and restaurants that did not admit or employ minors, to continue to offer smoking as an option for their customers. But local municipalities would still have the option of drafting stricter smoking regulations.
When this new law passed, every restaurant owner in Georgia was forced to choose between admitting minors or allowing their customers the option to smoke. For us, the choice was easy. Smokers and drinkers had always been our preferred target market. So we originally changed our company policy to limit our customers to individuals 21 or older. But after several of our college-aged customers complained that the law actually stipulated that people 18 and over could be legally admitted, we changed our policy to reflect the wording of the new law.
Our patrons absolutely loved the change. We got a lot of great feedback. And while we were congratulated for standing up for freedom of choice, as it turned out a vast majority of our customers really wanted us to know how much they enjoyed eating, drinking and socializing in the new “adult-only” environment of The Vortex. Beyond the compliments, the proof was reflected in the numbers. We saw our profits rise significantly after making this policy change.
Due to the fact that so many people have embraced the new fascism, and love to tell other people how to live their lives, we are certain that it is only a matter of time until the City of Atlanta passes an all-out smoking ban. We continue to be concerned that more citizens do not understand the real dangers of coercive legislation. Any time you create a State apparatus capable of repression, it will inevitably fall into the hands of tyrants. History proves it.