Long a haven for cigar chewing daddies and cigarette smoking bears, the Atlanta Eagle is making plans to curtail smoking and receiving mostly accolades for the move.
The leather and Levi bar hinted at the possibility on Monday with this simple question on Facebook:
Ok. I would like to know. Without starting a fight on here. Just a simple yes or no but here we go. Should the eagle go smoke free?
More than 300 comments later, the possibility of the bar snuffing out smoking was overwhelmingly cheered in responses to the post. On Friday, Eagle co-owner Robby Kelley (top photo) said the bar will take action as soon as May 1 to limit smoking. But it’s not yet clear whether the move will bring a complete indoor ban, pushing smokers to an expansive outdoor deck, or make the main bar and dance floor smoke-free, he said.
“Smoke and cigars go with a leather bar but times are changing and so are we,” Kelley said. “It’s still a hard thing to decide. You’re stepping across a line we said for a long time we would never take. The rights of people to smoke is a kinda iffy thing.”
When the bar curtails smoking this spring, it will join Heretic and My Sister’s Room in taking similar action. Both bars limited their smoking areas earlier this month. Jungle moved its smokers to a small indoor area beside its main bar when it started renovations last year. Mixx and Cockpit also offer limited smoking areas.
Kelley said that he hopes waiting until early May will provide patrons plenty of time to adjust to the new smoking areas. He added it’s tough to balance the needs of his smoking and non-smoking customers.
“I don’t smoke and after 16 years, my lungs could use the break. Waiting until spring to start any of this will I hope give people time to adjust to the way of things to come,” he said.
Kelley added that he hopes the city will take action and ban smoking in bars and restaurants so the Eagle and others won’t face backlash from customers for making the move themselves. In July, the Atlanta City Council approved a proposal by gay Council member Alex Wan to ban smoking inside parks.
“We hoped that the city would do something long before it got to this point but every major city around the world has done it. I think it is saying something for all bars to start questioning it with out the enforcement from the city itself. We all know it’s coming. Small steps at a time like everyone is doing will make it easer when it does,” Kelley said.