[image-1]In the dead-tree paper this week, we’ve got a piece checking in with a couple of bar owners and updating the news on Charleston’s smoking ban. There’s not much news, but it’s interesting to note that the city has not had one citation in the first six months in regards to bar owners or patrons ignoring the ban.

Then theres the mixed bag for bar owners.

David Clark, director of operations at Wild Wing Café, says the restaurant/bar is obeying the ban at its Market Street location, but that doesn’t mean he has to like it. The chain has the space at other locations for outdoor seating or separate indoor seating to accommodate smoking and nonsmoking sections. But the limited space downtown meant smoking was allowed in the entire restaurant before the ban, and they didn’t have any problems filling the booths.

“If enough people told us with their feet, we would have changed it,” Clark says.

But the ban hasn’t seemed to impact business either, other than leading to more noise and trash on the front steps.

While food slightly outweighs the bar at King Street Grille, owner Eric Frank says he’s still seen a 20 percent drop in revenue. While some of it may be due to the changing economy, he also pins blame on lost traffic because of the smoking ban. Like Wild Wings, Frank doesn’t have a patio to offer smoking patrons and, instead, has to push them out the front door.

“I have to ask guests to stand out in the pouring rain to smoke,” he says. And that’s only if they decide to hang around. “They could see a friend down the street and go to some other bar.”