For quite some time Dallas has maintained no-smoking laws in its bars, restaurants and music venues, forcing smokers into the elements during concerts or comedy shows; but just 40 miles away, Denton has long remained the go-to city for tabacco users because of its lenience towards smoking in bars and restaurants.
On December 18, Denton City Council voted on a committee-proposed non-smoking ordinance, which ruled that a city-wide smoking ban would go into effect on April 17 of this year. There are some exceptions for bars, however.
Either way, the time has come, folks.
Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios owner Josh Baish logged on to the RGRS Facebook page and made this announcement at 3:17 p.m. on Monday afternoon:
"Starting MAY 7TH, 2013, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios will become a NON-SMOKING VENUE for all shows! That means you smokers will have exactly one week to get all your puffing, bitching, and moaning out before this new rule becomes effective. We thank you. Your lungs will thank you. Come see us soon. ♥ RGRS"
There are several reasons for this decision, Baish said, which include the fact that Denton's new city-wide ordinance requires that if you are a bar, you can continue to allow indoor smoking if sales are mostly alcohol, but only on one condition: You must restrict your attendance to people 18 years or older.
"Being an all-ages venue is something that we've always prided ourselves on. That's something I felt bad about changing. So many people have had their first shows here."
It's true. Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios is one of the handful of all-ages, liquor-serving music venues in the metroplex, and it wants to stay that way, says Baish. That's the main reason it will make the changes, effective Tuesday, May 7. An outpour of Facebook comments applauded this decision.
"We thought about [going non-smoking] years ago, but it was just something I was on the fence about. You tend to think of it as just part of the show-going experience--the stale beer, the cigarette smoke..." Baish said.
For years Rubber Gloves and its small, windowless interior has harbored a fog of smoke in and around the bar, which has driven reviewers to complain on Yelp.com. One consistent subject that appears in almost all of RGRS's Yelp reviews pertains to its thick, smoky interior. Some reviews say they would give the venue five stars if it weren't for the smoke, Baish says.
"You can still go outside and smoke, to the best of my knowledge, until I can figure something else out. We're gonna look at building a little patio on the side of the building, where people can go out through the side door of the show room."
Baish is a recent first-time father of two newborn twin girls, a circumstance that has required a lot of scheduling, finagling and rethinking.
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"Having two newborn babies, we've been having to bring them up to the bar a lot more. It's hard for just one of us to watch them," Baish said, "and I don't want my kids subjected to this. It's not just that reason though, it's all these factors combined."
When Tokyo's experimental metal band Boris performed at RGRS this past Friday, the venue made a last-minute decision to go all non-smoking for the night, due in part to the fact that the band members' nine-year-old daughter had no other option but to be present for the show. The decision to be smoke-free for the night made for a much better experience, Baish said.
"I'm asmathic and have been my whole life, and I sucked it up and thought this is something I would have to deal with my whole life, but when Denton and what seems like the rest of the country have transitioned...I think people are becoming more enlightened as a society--we're moving in that direction."