Even if the economy was in good shape, it would be hard to keep a Dallas bar from going under now that smoking has been banned indoors. For some owners, though, the one-two punch of a recession and a smoking ordinance is likely to be the final blow.
"I'm down 40 percent since this thing started,"Lone Star Café and Club general manager Dee Nollantold the Dallas Morning News. "I'm three minutes from being in Garland, so my clientele who smoke get in their cars and drive three minutes and go to Garland."
Suburban smokers have it easier in most cities, as many ordinances allow indoor smoking at bars -- Dallas is not so lucky.
The enforcement of the law -- 47 citations have been filed -- isn't just taking money from those caught smoking in the bars, it's also taking funds from the business itself. If caught smoking, an individual is ticketed for about $200 -- then the business receives a similar citation. It's in a businesses best interest, then, to keep smokers outside.
"The law says it's my responsibility to make sure people don't smoke, even if I have 140 people in here," the frustrated Nollan told the Dallas Morning News. "I'm supposed to baby-sit these people."
Some have tried to calm bars owners fears by claiming they'll have more folks come in that don't want to smoke -- offsetting the loss of smokers looking for another space to light up. But to many of the bar owners, that claim isn't holding water -- dampening hopes of returning to the black for some Dallas bars.