Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Liberty: Ironically

So, a bar called "Liberty" decides to back a move to restrict the liberty of others:

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, entering his final year in office, is making a third and final push to enact a smoking ban in the state's bars and restaurants.

He supported similar bills in 2007 and 2008 but the Legislature rejected them.

This year, he believes momentum is on his side. At a news conference Tuesday at a Clarendon tavern, Kaine said the public is increasingly supportive of such bans.


Stephen Fedorchak, owner of The Liberty Tavern, the restaurant where Kaine held his news conference, said he has been in the business long enough to know smoking was once entrenched in bars and restaurants. But those days have passed, he said.

He said he does not regret the decision to ban smoking in his restaurant and said these days "smokers are somewhat used to going out in a ... fresh-air environment" and no longer assume they will be allowed to light up.

As many of you know, I have recently quit smoking. I honestly prefer non-smoking establishments now because I don't like my clothes wreaking of cigarette smoke when I get home. But the decision to quit was my choice--and I still choose to go into smoking bars, on occasion. If it comes to the point that I don't want to ever walk into another smoking-permissive establishment, then that too will be up to me. But I will never back a government mandated smoking ban on a municipal, state, or--god forbid--national level.

Many of you also know that I was a bartender for the better part of 8 years. I've worked in smoking and non-smoking environments. I've always hated the "but what about the employees?" argument because, first off, most restaurant employees I worked with smoked. Secondly, any prospective employee knows going in that the restaurant/bar allowed smoking. (The ashtrays on the tables and bar closely situated to the smoking customers were usually a dead giveaway.) If you don't want to work at a smoking restaurant, don't apply. It's as simple as that.

I encourage all true believers in liberty to patronize any bar in Clarendon other than the misnamed Liberty Tavern. There are good bars there that allow smoking, and those that don't. I refuse to spend my hard-earned dollars there until they publicly repudiate their endorsement of this law. I implore Virginia and greater DC-area residents to do the same.

H/T: Jacob Grier

Please express your own dissatisfaction to the Liberty Tavern at

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