My purple cup and I cross the street every day to get our fill of iced tea at “the bar.” We all call it that. No need to use its name as we all know where we are going. We know Chris and Steve and Amy and all the staff. Walking into the bar is like walking into the westside Ann Arbor version of Cheers. Casual, comfortable, warm and welcoming, if you get a booth (a window is the best) you can put your feet up and relax.
A fair amount of business gets done at the bar. We hold our operations meeting there on Wednesdays and often have to compete with the architects, lawyers and web geeks for a space. Of course the big round table is always reserved for the Hooper Hathaway attorneys. Being daily customers is rewarded with a table complete with roasted peanuts and pitchers of iced tea waiting in the corner by the window.
Steve is worried about the new Michigan no smoking law for bars and restaurants going into effect in 80 days. He asked if we could use our research tools to determine what percentage of drinkers are also smokers. He is afraid the drinking and smoking crowd will just stay home at night. His brother Chris on the other hand can’t wait. He thinks the opposite will happen, that their dinner business will increase once the smoke clears. I probably agree with Chris, the smoke has kept me away on more than one occasion. (Research data seems to supports that too.) I did suggest that if they were worried, they might develop a customer database with all those cards they collect in the fishbowl and talk to their customers about it.
There is a lot to be said for a good, family run, neighborhood bar. People have been meeting at for food and drink for over 100 years. I suspect if Steve and Chris keep at it they will do just fine in the future too, smoking or no smoking.