MPLS: Still smokin' ... on the sidewalk

PS&RS sees slew of sidewalk apps

Over the weekend, one news break on KSTP-AM (1500) noted that since the smoking ban took effect, the city of Minneapolis has seen a spike in requests for construction permits--bar and restaurant owners are quickly adding patios or decks to their venues.

We can't find anything on the city's web site to verify this with hard numbers, but today's agenda for the Public Safety and Regulatory Services meeting has an unusual number of requests for "sidewalk cafe" licenses. No fewer than four joints (including The Joint) are seeking the right to let their patrons take it outside.

(The city, no doubt, is looking at some new revenue sources to boot.)

The sidewalk trend might not make sense to the non-smoker, but to many, smoking and drinking go together. Drinking inside and then smoking outside is like eating a slice of bread with peanut butter on it, then taking a bite out of another with jelly. With a sidewalk license, an establishment can permit its customers to take their drinks out with them, so sinful imbibing can still be done two-handed.

The anti-smoking propaganda machine has chosen the lame slogan "Done smokin', still hot" to describe the city of lakes, post-ban. But the reality is that no significant number of people will quit because of the ban, and smart business owners will do anything to accommodate die-hard regulars.

Also on the agenda: Three (more) simple rules for ban compliance.

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