images%5B7%5D.jpgFrom 6am on Sunday, it became illegal to smoke in public places. In the name of research, I took a tour of my local south London pubs, to see how punters were coping with the new law.
Anyone who has strayed into the Hollybush on Crystal Palace High Street, will know that at times you’ve needed a knife to cut your way through the smog and reach the bar. Not any more. As I passed by, three men were huddled outside the door, collars up against the drizzle, puffing on their rollies. Bless them, they looked like little lost souls, peering wistfully into the pub, where their pint glasses stood on the bar.
Down Gipsy Hill at the Railway Bell, locals had the luxury of a beer garden to venture out into when they needed a smoke. One particularly heavy smoker shuttled continuously from bar stool to beer garden, just about finding the time to take his anorak off and take a slurp of his lager before it was time to wrap up against the elements and head out again.
One regular summed up the sense of smoking being ever more of an illicit pleasure, when he announced, “I’m off out for a sneaky fag behind the bike sheds”.
I asked Sue, the landlady, how her customers had reacted. “No problems so far – but the rowdy, Friday evening crew, who are all smokers, will be the real test”.
How did your customers react to the implementation of the ban? Did you have to ask anyone to put out a cigarette? Did more familes come in for lunch? And what was the impact on takings?