What does it take to open a cigar bar in WA?

There is only one cigar bar in Washington, a state of more than 6 million people. It re-opened recently at El Gaucho in Tacoma years after the state’s extremely strict smoking ban shut it down. The renovations necessary to comply with the law cost $15,000:

“The Washington state law on tobacco is the toughest one in the U.S.,” [owner Paul MacKay] said.

He’s had to jump through a lot of smoke rings to meet code. MacKay created a 25-foot long glassed off airlock walkway separating the restaurant from the VIP lounge. To stay within guidelines, the lounge is operated by owners of a newly created company — not employees and it isn’t open to the public.

“You can’t just come in, you have to be invited,” MacKay said.

That’s not enough for the Health Department. They’ve already served him papers telling him he needs to shut down again.

[Via the Stogie Guys.]

Comments

  1. Jan says:

    If this were not so stupid, it would be funny. The business lost a million dollars in sales during the time it was shut down. The fools at the health department must not understand their wages are paid with sales and liquor taxes. Maybe they think the money grows on trees or drops from the heavens.

    Every state is in deep financial trouble, but by golly they will control tobacco!

  2. Ed says:

    First, it’s trampling on smoker’s rights, which exist about as much as non-smoker’s rights, and the non-smokers are quite the majority these days;
    then it trampling on the rights of small business owners, forgetting that bars and restaurants are already heavily regulated already, and why weren’t people complaining about other restrictions before;
    then it was that the state will lose million in tax revenues, which is most liekly not true as smokers have proven time and time again they’ll pay through the nose for their habit.

  3. Lonnie says:

    How do cigar bars like Smokey Joe’s in Fife Washington stay in business?

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