8:57 PM EST, February 23, 2012
While state lawmakers continue to debate the smoking ban and local leaders wait to see what state leaders will do, local bars are making their own move and going smoke-free voluntarily.
Old Pointe Tavern has been a smoking bar for 125 years. It's doing something that's never been done there before. Scott Bennett, manager at Old Pointe Tavern, said going smoke-free was ultimately a business decision.
"A lot of our complaints were we were too smokey and we had a lot of regulars that just came in the summer and in the winter, you wouldn't see them."
In order to get those spring and summer crowds year round, the bar went smoke-free about a week ago.
Bar patrons like Doug Krawczyk said they can see and feel the difference.
"It's a lot clearer. It's kinda nice."
Bennett said they did see an immediate backlash to doing away with smoking, though.
"Initially, we had a little drawback from the regulars. But today we're seeing new faces."
With only a week of smoke-free under the bar's belt, there are still things that need to be done to clean the smoke out of the building, but with business already picking up, the sales numbers didn't really skip a beat.
"It's different. We're busier during lunch and business hours."
Old Pointe Tavern's just the latest bar on Massachusetts Avenue to go smoke-free. McNivens and Front Page have also gone smoke-free and managers are hopeful others will follow.