Bars receive a reminder that it’s butts out for cigarettes


Smoking in Hamtramck bars? No siree, that stopped back in 2010 when a smoking ban went into effect.

Smoking in Hamtramck bars? No siree, that stopped back in 2010 when a smoking ban went into effect.


By Charles Sercombe

          It was said back in Prohibition days that someone forgot to tell Hamtramck that you couldn’t sell or consume alcohol anymore.

          Those were the wild 1920s when Hamtramck bars operated openly and freely while other cities enforced Prohibition.

Flash forward to today with a ban on smoking in bars and it seems a handful of local bars are flouting the law and allowing employees and patrons to smoke.

          During the past week, police officers have been hand-delivering a message from the chief, reminding the bars that smoking inside isn’t allowed. Chief Max Garbarino said there were complaints filed with the state recently about people smoking in bars.

          “It was a simple reminder,” Garbarino said. “They were getting a little out of hand.”

          State legislators passed a law banning smoking in bars, restaurants and social clubs in 2010. The law was controversial from the get-go, and apparently still is.

          Bar owners complained bitterly about losing customers. Others praised the law, saying it was a pleasure to go home without reeking of nicotine.

          Anyone who frequents Hamtramck bars knows that in recent months several bars have increasingly slip-slided into allowing their employees and customers to smoke inside.

          In fact, it’s a growing trend in other areas as well. State legislators are now considering bills to loosen the regulations.

          It can’t come soon enough for Cathie Gordon, a former city councilmember and the owner of New Dodge Lounge.

          She said business dropped dramatically when the law went into effect, and said it should be up to bars to decide whether to allow smoking.

          Gordon said all bars should have the option to pay an extra fee to the state to allow smoking, just like they do to serve alcohol on Sundays before noon.

          “The people can then have the option to go to a place that allows smoking,” she said.

          As for Hamtramck police officers delivering notices, she questioned the department’s priorities since the enforcement part of the law is in the hands of the state Department of Community Health.

          “We are strapped for officers but they have nothing else better to do?” Gordon said.

9 Responses to Bars receive a reminder that it’s butts out for cigarettes

  1. Hot Carl

    March 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Interesting. I stopped going to The New Dodge because it still allows smoking. Twenty minutes inside there and I smell like smoke and have the beginnings of a sore throat, but I guess I’m in the minority of Hamtramck drinkers.

  2. Babs

    March 15, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    If it were just a matter of the law, it would be simple to reword. What complicates it is that the smoke is a carcinogen. It’s a public health risk, and a possible OSHA violation. I don’t know why owners would put themselves at risk.

  3. Maude Flanders

    March 16, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    its a real shame that there arent any non smoking bars for non smokers to go to. total bummer too that sometimes business owners get to decided things for themselves instead of listening to every foolhardy soccer mom law that the government tries to put into place.

  4. boom boom

    March 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Dear hot carl,

    We generally dont like pussies hanging out at new dodge. So its cool you dont come in anymore. Asshole.

  5. YourMom

    March 16, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    It’s a personal choice, people who don’t smoke have the right not to…however if a owner chooses to allow smoking in their establishment then that is their choice… Deal with it! If you want a non smoking bar, open one your damn self and you and your whole foods shopping friends can bitch about how boring and dull your bar is… Suck it! I live in America where we are free to do so and pay tax on tobacco to educate your little brats and fix your roads you drive in to go to your suburban palaces… I hope you get my second hand cancer!

  6. A six foot tall talkin human baby

    March 16, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    hello, i am six foot tall talking human baby with the mind of a fully grown man, yet i look exactly like a baby and have the emotional maturity of one. I thought i would lend my unique viewpoint to this situation.

    When me and my friends, who are normal adults, not 6 foot tall human babies capable of speech and seemingly complex thought, go to bars we have a blast. I cant drink since i am a baby, even tho i am 6 feet tall, so i just hang back and laugh when they make funny voices or jingle their keys. We have a quite a time let me tell you. Then we went into an un-named bar (im not trying to get anyone in trouble for letting a 6 foot tall human baby in after 10 pm) and they were smoking, my friends were like oh they smoke in here, lets go 5 blocks down the street to that other bar where they dont allow smoking but i was like “no WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH i wanna drink here im a giant 6 foot talking human baby and if i wanna drink here im gonna drink here even though there are endless options available to me that cater to my very specific tastes wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” in the end all the patrons left because i was able to scream so loud (being a six foot tall human baby i have very large lungs) and it was just me and my friends. We had a great time. we each had 2 beers over the course of 4 hrs and left the bartender a very generous 15% before catching a cab back to ferndale where they dropped me off and put me in my giant six foot baby crib.

  7. BB

    March 16, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    If you don’t want to be around the cigarette smoke, go to a bar that doesn’t allow it. Your choice.

  8. George

    March 23, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    This is exactly why I didn’t vote for Cathy Gordon for Mayor. Whether you like it or not the smoking law is the law and Cathy Gordon was an elected official that is supposed to help enforce the law.

    You can poke fun at people or tell them to go elsewhere, the law is the law and it’s just stupid of the bar owner to say what she did, the law is the law no matter what.

  9. Johnny

    February 20, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    All major cities do not allow smoking, you even have to stand, i don’t know how many feet away from the door to smoke. I know these other cities are just like a pansy. But if they are right about what second hand smoke does to you, you know, causes cancer and other sought after diseases then fuck them. It is a damn shame that every test done backs up their premise. Detroit is just smarter than everyone else who cares how long they live. I want to live as long as possible, I guess that makes me a pansy. So what, I have been called worse, and I will be happy to come to your funeral, since it will probably be before mine.

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