It takes a particularly interesting news item to rouse me from my cheap-can induced Wetherspoons stupor. But one such item this lunchtime did get me to raise my head from the sticky, as yet uncleaned, table. The Barbacoa restaurant in Crosby, Merseyside has apparently become the first in the UK to ban smoking in their beer garden. Owner Gordon Tartt explained why he took the decision: “Customers were complaining that the outside of the restaurant was becoming an al fresco smoking lounge, so we’ve created a place where people can eat and drink in a smoke free environment.”
Apart from a lot of free publicity for the restaurant, the move has earned it an award from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. Rewarding it with a Clean Air Award, Melody Holt, tobacco control manager at the RCLCF, said: “This is the first smoke free beer garden that we’re aware of and we would encourage other establishments to follow their lead. We believe it’s really important that when people step outside for fresh air, that’s what they should get rather than clouds of smoke. The dangers of passive smoking are well-known.”
Being the first guarantees that the Barbacoa will be generating several opinion pieces in the next few days. And it certainly won’t be a popular move with the usual suspects. Even though they have allocated smokers a smoking-zone out front. But most people won't be bothered and can anyone really believe that this is anything other than the beginning of a growing trend?