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Leeds publican bans smoking in beer garden to get ahead

By Georgina Townshend , 02-Jun-2017

Family friendly: Publican bans smoking in beer garden
Family friendly: Publican bans smoking in beer garden

A publican from Leeds banned smoking in his beer garden because he can see it “becoming a lot more common in the next couple of years”.

Steve Westlake, co-owner of the Myrtle Tavern, Meanwood, decided to stop people smoking in the pub’s garden after spending thousands of pounds on a play area in the recently outside. He asked smokers to go to the designated area at the front of the pub instead. 

He made the decision after talking to the pub’s customers and he said 95% of his punters, including smokers, said the ban was a good idea.

Why wait?

He said: “I can see it becoming a lot more common in the next couple of years, so I thought what is the point in waiting. Let’s just go for it.

“When we took the pub on it was nearly shut and we built it up. We spent £96,000 on it this year, and have created our own business model anyway and have always done something a bit different.”

The publican added that allowing smoking in a beer garden “doesn’t scream family friendly”, especially near a children’s play area, and that he kept finding cigarette butts all over the garden.

Not always about food

The pub, unlike others which have introduced smoking bans in beer gardens due to the trend for alfresco dining, said it is nothing to do with food sales.

“We are a 90% wet, 10% dry, so it’s nothing to do with increasing our food sales,” Westlake said.

“If you are sat next to a brand new play area in a garden with a great family atmosphere, then there is a table of six people smoking, it just does not look right.”

Westlake, who is a smoker, said he had not done this as a “non-smoker with a vengeance”, and said he would happily walk the 20 extra steps to a smoking area if needed.

The pub now has signs on every table, which came into force yesterday (1 June).

He advised other publicans wishing to ban smoking in their beer garden to only do it if they have enough space to provide an area for smokers.

  • It is almost ten years since England introduces its smoking ban on 1 July. Watch out for The Morning Advertiser’s special smoking ban anniversary issue coming soon.

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