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SMOKING SURVEY UPDATE #2

The Vortex Smoking Survey will be active until 12 noon on Thursday January 31, 2019. So, don’t miss your chance to let us know what YOU think. If you haven’t done so yet, CLICK HERE to take the survey. I know I said my last Smoking Survey UPDATE would probably be my ONLY update, but I continue to be amazed by how helpful our faithful fans are. Less than seven days into this survey and over 10,000 people have already taken it. We’ve got three weeks to go. If this keeps up, who knows what the final count will be?

CLARIFICATION
To be clear, this survey is about our smoking policy ONLY, and nothing else. We have been getting a lot of replies that basically say, “I don’t care what your smoking policy is, but for the love of god, don’t start letting kids in The Vortex.” Be advised, if we do change our smoking policy due to the results of this survey, it will not affect our age restriction. The Vortex will continue to be a bar designed for adults. I just wanted to put that out there to alleviate everyone’s obvious concerns.

SMOKING SURVEY UPDATE

Have I mentioned how awesome Vortex fans are lately? Well I need to. You guys kick ass! We are literally only 72 hours into our month long smoking survey, and over 4,700 people have already participated. This warms my icy black heart. The Vortex Smoking Survey will be active for another 27 days. So, please be sure to let us know what YOU think. If you haven’t done so yet, you can CLICK HERE to take the survey.

The last question on the survey allows participants to submit a brief comment, and over 1,700 people have done so. These comments are pretty interesting (at least to me), so I have compiled a random sample to share in this update. This will probably be my only update until I report our final decision in our Blog sometime in early February. But who knows?

• Will continue to be a customer no matter what, but food tastes better without smoke.

• Just moved to L5P and love The Vortex. Don’t want to bug people who come there to smoke, but honestly I would come more if it wasn’t allowed.

• I’m a child of the 80’s. I remember cigarette vending machines, and restaurants so clouded with smoke you could lose sight of your table on the way back from the bathroom. I realize smoking is an individual choice, but I’d prefer to not to have my Vortex experience tainted because someone else’s choice. You seriously dont need a cigarette to eat/drink.

• I would prefer it be non-smoking. But honestly the ventilation is so good at the midtown location that I have rarely been annoyed by the cigarette smoke.

• Everything about The Vortex is great except the smoke. If you smoke anywhere in the building, you might as well be smoking everywhere. It is overwhelming, therefore I only go about once a month, though I live within walking distance.

• Drinks and smoke are fine, food and smoke are not.

• Although I am no longer a smoker, it’s nice to know that there is still an establishment that allows smokers to smoke indoors.

• I would love to see a change in the smoking policy. A few years ago I stopped going to the Midway pub because of the smoking inside. Now, they have changed their policy and I am there on a regular basis!

• I just prefer not to smell like an ashtray after I leave the bar. You know what I’m saying? Love your food.

• I respect everyone’s opinion on this controversial (though increasingly less controversial) subject. I would personally be encouraged to visit The Vortex more frequently without the smoke inside. I hope the venue becomes a 100% smoke-free environment.

• Great food and drinks. Smoking should be done outside. Just like I do at home.

• Our group of friends love the food and the “no kids” policy. It’s on our list of favorites when we’re considering food before or after a bar crawl. It’s super convenient because one of us owns a condo right above the midtown location. However, the only reason we have ever decided against actually coming for greasy food that tastes like heaven, after being hungover all day, is because smoking is allowed.

• I don’t even smoke, but I liked that you stuck to your guns. It’s a bar, people should be able to smoke.

• I enjoy the kid-free atmosphere more than anything to do with smoking. If you do make it non-smoking, please continue the no kids policy. PLEASE.

• Smoking kind of goes with The Vortex vibe so I respect that, but I would probably spend more time in your bar (read – more money) if smoking wasn’t allowed there.

• Either way you go I’ll still be visiting, but I do enjoy the privilege of smoking at The Vortex.

• Even though I no longer smoke, I hope your policy doesn’t change. If it’s a business decision, I understand.

• It’s not a big deal to me either way. I love your burgers, your staff is the best, and your house drinks are awesome. Forever a fan, no matter what is decided. Now where’s my Skull Crusher?

• The Vortex is an awesome restaurant and we tolerate the smoke. Although it sucks to smell so bad when we leave, we deal. I’d prefer no smoking indoors, but I also know what I signed up for when we go there to eat.

• I’ve never been a smoker but don’t really care if you can smoke in there or not. I truly love the no kid atmosphere. It’s rare to get to have lunch without kids being loud and throwing stuff.

• As a smoker, it doesn’t bother me at all to smoke outside.

• We have some friends that would like to come with us to The Vortex, but will not because of sensitivity to cigarette smoke.

• I’ve always known The Vortex to be a bar that allows smoking. It doesn’t bother me and I don’t think it needs to change. I also don’t drink, and I love going there.

• I don’t have a problem with people smoking unless it’s around my food. I used to frequent back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. But I think the older I get, the less I can tolerate the smoke. But gosh you have good burgers and would welcome the change.

• I absolutely love your food and establishment. I typically can deal with the smoke, but sometimes it’s just a bit much. Still my favorite place in the world to eat.

• Love y’all. Gonna keep visiting either way.

• Do what’s best for your business.

THE VORTEX SMOKING SURVEY

According to the current smoking policy at The Vortex, customers are allowed to smoke cigarettes (or e-cigarettes) when seated at the BAR only. Smoking is not permitted anywhere else on the premises. If you have an opinion on this policy now is the time to let your voice be heard. You can CLICK HERE to complete a seven-question survey on the topic. This survey will remain active throughout the entire month of January. Once we have had ample time to compile and review the results, we will report our findings, and any decisions that we’ve made in a follow-up blog that will be posted here sometime in February. Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts. And just for the record, below is a brief history of the various smoking policies The Vortex has applied over the years.

When we first opened back in 1992, approximately 27% of adults in the U.S. were smokers according to the CDC. Based on my personal observations, I’d estimate that at least 75% of our patrons smoked at the time because the two levels of our tiny little bar were often so dense with cigarette smoke, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. And even the non-smokers would light-up once they got a little hooch into their systems. In those days, there were no smoking ordinances pertaining to bars, and since The Vortex was a secret hideout designed for people who wanted to be a little bit bad, we obviously allowed smoking.

A year or so later, we received a visit from a code enforcement officer. He came in to notify us that the Atlanta City Council had passed an ordinance that required all bars serving food to designate at least 50% of their seating as “Non-Smoking.” Since our bar was so small, we asked him to recommend which seats he thought would magically be protected from smoke by posting a sign. He replied, “It doesn’t make any difference to me, as long as it’s half the seats in here.” Due to the fact that the actual “bar” was located on the first floor, and everyone who sat at the bar smoked in those days, we decided to assign the upstairs loft as our non-smoking area. Sure, all the cigarette smoke would eventually rise up into that space, but we had met our legal obligations. This is a good example of how government attempts at social engineering often work-out in the end.

In 1996 we opened The Vortex in Little 5 Points, and in 1997 we relocated our Midtown venue to a bigger space on Peachtree Street. We continued to comply with the 50% non-smoking mandate in both locations until the state passed the Georgia Smoke-Free Air Act of 2005. That law required restaurants and bars to be 100% non-smoking unless they did not allow minors on their premises. So the government had forced us to make a decision – ban smoking, or ban children. Up until that point, we allowed parents to decide if they wanted to bring their kids to our bar. But since The Vortex was indeed a bar, saying goodbye to the youngsters was not a difficult call for us to make. And while our fans enjoyed the fact that they could still smoke in our bar, they really seemed to appreciate the new “adults-only” environment even more. So for us, the age restriction ended up being the more popular result of that particular legislation.

Nowadays, because of health and lifestyle changes, along with legislation like the Smoke-Free Air Act, smokers seem to have gradually adjusted their habits as to where and when they smoke. Recently, as I was entering The Vortex in midtown during a severe thunderstorm, I happened to notice a woman huddled underneath the umbrella of a patio table, smoking a cigarette. I informed her that she was welcome to smoke at the bar inside and she replied, “Oh, I know. But I don’t want to be a bother to anyone.” This got me thinking. If smokers are now this reluctant to smoke where they are legally permitted to do so, it just might be time to reassess our smoking policy. And now here we are. So help us out. Take the survey.

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