Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse, one of downtown's hottest hot spots, has officially gone smoke-free more than two months before the Anchorage smoking ban goes into effect July 1.
Why now? I sat down with Humpy's promotions manager Cyndi Ramirez to get the scoop.
Q. July is more than two months away. Why ban smoking now?
A. Somehow, through the planets aligning, (the ban) went to vote the week of our spring cleaning. We did a huge cleaning -- ripped out the carpet, fresh paint, we cleaned every nook and cranny. We said, "You know what? The ban has passed. Why go through all this cleaning and let people stink it up for the next two months? Let's just go ahead and do it now."
Q. Did you consider waiting until July 1?
A. We did. We weighed the pros and cons. As far as the customers go, we were afraid (of) what their reaction would be. But in the end, it just came down to the fact that we have new carpet and we didn't want to give them a chance to put burn holes in it. And since it had passed ... we decided (that) if we're going to go through the expense and time and trouble, let's try and keep it nice.
Q. Did the public approval of the ban in the election make the decision easier?
A. If it hadn't passed, I honestly don't know if we would be nonsmoking. But I think the way the trend is going, it would have happened eventually anyway. The public would have demanded it.
Q. How have clients reacted?
A. The first time that I announced it was during a Pub Quiz. We had put out fliers about it. We had heard grumbling from some of the musicians and regulars who are smokers, and I'm sure everybody's going to hear that eventually. But I would say overall it was probably 95 percent positive.
Q. What are you hearing that's negative?
A. The only thing I've seen that's a little negative so far is the amount of butts we've had to sweep off our sidewalks and off the patio.
Q. Will the patio continue to allow smoking?
A. I'm waiting to hear back from the city clerks to hear what exactly is going to happen as far as the patio goes. As far as I am aware right now, when the law goes into effect, there will still be smoking allowed on the patio.
-- by Katie Pesznecker