Amarillo bar considers banning smoking indoors

Amarillo bar considers banning smoking indoors (Photo by Kendra Hall ABC 7). 

Hoots Pub, a popular bar in Amarillo, is conducting a poll on social media to help decided if they should ban smoking inside.

Current law allows smoking inside bars if the owner allows it.

So far, people are responding to this poll. Facebook comments show most are for banning smoking indoors. The owner of Hoots wants what his customers want so he encourages everyone to vote.

"We just feel like the people are wanting it," said Casey Berry, owner of Hoots Pub. "They're speaking loud enough that we have to listen to them."

Customers have been allowed to smoke in Hoots for 27 years.

"It doesn't matter to me one way or another," said Berry. "I don't smoke and so I see that side of it, but I do hear from the customers quite a bit."

Hoots is focused on live music and Berry says he does not want the indoor smoking to turn people away from the live shows.

"Roughly 36 and a half million adults are smokers, so you look at that and I'm sure if you narrowed it down to who frequents the bars most often," said Alex Cunningham, Amarillo resident. "It's probably going to be 21 to 35 and how many of them are smokers."

Cunningham is a smoker. He says he appreciates the bars that allow smoking inside, but respects the ones that do not.

Guitars and Cadillacs in Amarillo, along with several other bars, allow smoking indoors because they say that is what the general public seems to want.

"A lot of folks like to smoke," said Ron Cowdrey, Guitars and Cadillacs General Manager. "They don't smoke at all, but when they have drinks, they smoke. That's just the way it is. So we accommodate that, but we go to a lot of precautions to not have it smoke filled."

He says they allow smoking because voters wanted that. But it may be seen on a ballot again soon.

Owner of Hoots says business will likely pick up if smoking is no longer allowed.

"It's a bar and it's a successful bar," said Cunningham. "It's a place where people come and it's not going to really deter anyone from enjoying what they enjoy. If I have to step outside and smoke a cigarette, big deal."

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