Even though the smoking ban has cleared the air in Cincinnati bars, there are still plenty of customers who enjoy lighting up with their drinks.
Outdoor patios all over the city over are being revitalized to accommodate smokers, and new patios are going in all the time. Jeff Ruby's (Downtown) and the Indian Mound Cafe (Norwood) are just two of many hoping their new patios this spring will bring out more smokers.
"The demand for a smoking space is high, and we're hoping to get some people back from Kentucky and to allow our guests to smoke cigars," says Neal Collingsworth, general manager at Jeff Ruby's.
What these bars recognize is that since the smoking ban went into effect smokers appreciate even the humblest space in which to congregate, swap stories and smoke their Turkish Gold.
Still, Evans admits, "Since the smoking ban, bartending is a lot better."
Noelle, who picks up shifts occasionally at The Comet in Northside, says, "You know, The Comet used to be full of hipsters, but they all go down to the Gypsy Hut now. I think (The Comet) is going to have to eventually put in a patio like the one down there."
While perhaps disgruntled since the ban, Cincinnati smokers tend to be a generous and forgiving lot and aren't ashamed to call even a tacked-on patio their sacred space — a place where, rain or shine, plumes of smoke rise up among conversations that might not have happened indoors. ©