Blog: Where there's smoke there's freedom
Chris Brook-Carter | 6 January 2004
The move will effectively create the UK's first no-smoking pub brand under the "Phoenix" banner, the same name as the London establishment.
Although I am a non-smoker, I visited the Phoenix with mixed feelings late last year, unsure that I would notice much difference, given that many of London's bars are so well air conditioned these days. I worried, perhaps illogically, about a lack of atmosphere - created by the draconian no smoking policy - despite the pub's catchline "a pub with atmosphere, not smoke". And I also expected it to be empty. After all, everyone has friends who smoke don't they?
The reality is that it was packed, although this was Christmas, and a return visit in January may be more revealing. But, more importantly, I did notice the difference of being in a smoke free environment. The effect was driven home when one drunken reveller lit a cigarette the other side of the pub, some 30 yards away. Everyone noticed it straightaway and pinpointed where the smell was coming from. He soon got the message to stub it out.
But, despite this positive experience, it was not enough to persuade me the UK should follow the US in banning smoking in public places outright. My decision to go to the Phoenix was a free choice and I still want that same freedom to drink with my smoking friends and colleagues, in an environment that they feel relaxed in.
Yesterday was long. Very, very long. What started with an alarm in London at 0530 GMT ended with a Bacardi eight-year-old nightcap in Puerto Rico at 0730 GMT the following morning....
This weekend, Bacardi is hosting a three-day music event on the private island of Palomino just off the coast of Puerto Rico....
Warmest thanks to all of you who filled in our annual readers' survey this month. The results are very important for us to learn from and look to improve our service to you....
Today's news that German spirits firm Mast-Jägermeister has joined UK responsible drinking organisation The Portman Group may raise eyebrows in some quarters....
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