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Bar owners gear up for smoking ban

Bar owners in Wisconsin have two months to prepare for the statewide smoking ban, but Superior has made some concessions for bar owners but only some qualify.

Bar owners in Wisconsin have two months to prepare for the statewide smoking ban, but Superior has made some concessions for bar owners but only some qualify.

The statewide smoking ban in public places will force people to snuff the butt July 5. Three months after the Legislature passed the ban the Superior City Council passed two ordinances to that allow bars to set up smoking patios where drinks can be brought outside.

City Clerk Terri Kalan, says not all bars have that option.

"Every establishment has different circumstances. If they have room where they could create an outdoor alcohol area and have control over it they could submit the application. If they don't, they wouldn't qualify."

Darlene works at Who's Bar in Superior. She didn't want to give her last name. She did say that Who's doesn't have room to build an outside patio but doesn't think that will stop patrons from bringing drinks outside when smoking. She said it's impossible for a bartender to keep track of who is coming and going at all times.

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Four bars, the Shack Supper Club, Barker's Island, the Thirsty Pagan Brewery and Ace's on 29th have already gone nonsmoking and all have outdoor smoking and drinking areas. Steve Knause has owned the Thirsty Pagan since 2006 and went smoke free last year. He says it's actually helped business.

"The only thing that we've seen different is No. 1, it's a lot easier to clean up because there are not so many smokes and cigarette butts laying all over the place, but No. 2 people really seem to really enjoy themselves. I've had two people complain that there's no smoking, and I've had a hundred that are glad that there isn't."

Doug Dalager owns the Shack. He's seen mixed results since going smoke free last year.

"It didn't affect our bar business in the summer or fall months because we have an outside patio that seats 56 people. I did notice a little bit of a decline in my bar business in the coldest months of the winter. I fully anticipate that when the law goes into effect on July 5th it's going to be to our benefit because we'll have been smoke free for a year already."

Douglas County Tavern League President Dan Corbin owns a pub on Amnicon Lake. He's building a deck and small smoking area. He's still steamed at the legislature.

"They shouldn't be telling us how to run our business in the first place but when you turn around and use the argument of the health of your employees, that's how they get away from that argument."

Kalan says so far, out of the 77 places with liquor licenses in Superior, only 16 have applied for outdoor smoking areas.

The city's License and Fees Committee, if appointed by the City Council during a special meeting Tuesday, is scheduled to review four of those applications May 17.

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