Smoking ban in effect in Columbus

COLUMBUS — In an effort to accommodate smokers under the city’s new smoking ordinance, at least three Columbus bars and restaurants no longer will admit minors.

The Columbus City Council on Tuesday adopted a citywide smoking ordinance banning smoking in “all enclosed public places,” including restaurants.

However, the ordinance, which is modeled after a Tennessee law, allows smoking in “age-restricted venues” — or bars, restaurants and other establishments which only allow people age 21 or older to enter — and “private clubs,” which restrict access to the general public.

The ordinance allows businesses with three or fewer employees to designate enclosed smoking rooms, inaccessible to the general public, and provides exemptions for “non-enclosed areas of public places, including, open-air patios, porches or decks.”

As a result, Sey’s Sports Bar and Grill, located off U.S. Highway 45 North, and Zachary’s, located in downtown Columbus, now only will admit patrons over the age of 21.

“We are going to take the adult venue route, so we will continue to offer smoking and nonsmoking sections,” said Doug Pellum, owner of Zachary’s. “You’ll just have to be 21 to come in now.

“Fifty percent of our business is smoking, and we wanted to be able to offer both sections and the only way to do that would be to eliminate the under-21 crowd, which is only about 2 percent of our business,” he said.

Clyde Rhea, a co-owner of Sey’s Sports Bar and Grill, said he’d have preferred the city did not pass a smoking ordinance.

“We feel like the business owner should determine whether he wants to allow smoking or not or let the customer decide with their pocketbook. (But) this ordinance is a consolation where we can still allow smoking in the bar. Due to the fact a large majority of our customers are smokers, we’re going to have to take that option (and restrict admittance to those over the age of 21).”

The restaurant at Tampico Bay will remain nonsmoking.

The Tampico Bay Marina Bar and Grill has split into two businesses.

A recent building addition to the bar now will operate as a separate business, The Three Amigos Saloon, and will be nonsmoking, but the existing Tampico Bay bar will only be accessible to patrons over the age of 21 and will be a smoking facility, said owner Carlos Rosales.

Rosales said patrons can access The Three Amigos Saloon, for a nonsmoking experience, either through the Tampico Bay restaurant or through separate entrances near the Tampico Bay parking lot

Kristin Mamrack/Columbus Commercial Dispatch