Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Yesterday evening, we finally talked to Bobby Hood, co-owner of Gezellig on Lower Greenville, where, last Friday, some folks were ticketed for smoking on the premises in violation of the city's smoking ordinance. Hood and his partner in the restaurant-live-music-venue were actually among those popped, and despite the tenor and tone of the comments attached to Monday's original item, Hood wants it made perfectly clear he's aware he was doing something he shouldn't have been doing -- and he also wants it made known that the Dallas police officers and health inspectors who ticketed his patrons were "polite," though he confirms one man was arrested when he confronted officers outside, asking them, "You proud of yourselves?"

In recent days, we've learned quite a bit about the smoking-ordinance sting, which has been taking place in several Lower Greenville joints in recent weeks, not just at Gezellig last weekend. Turns out, Service Bar and Suede and other Lower Greenville joints have been hit as well -- and, from what we can tell, officers have been hitting the same establishments to which the city recently sent audit notices, chief among the Suede, which, we understand, was among the first targeted two weeks back, when officers came in around 11:30 p.m. on a Friday night and stayed till every last patron -- some 150 of them, we've been told -- left.

"Every bar down there has ashtrays on tables, and it's illegal in all but three of them, so if any one of us said we'll start complying, it would be terrible for business -- especally a place like us that's three months old and trying to grow," Hood tells Unfair Park. Nonetheless, they've gotten the message. And city council has another one for bar owners. It's after the jump.

Yesterday, the final item on the council's agenda dealt with altering the ordinance concerning certificates of occupancy. In short, the city wants bar owners to turn over all the documents it requests, concerning things like alcohol vs. non-alcohol sales and the proper permits and so forth, in a timely manner. And if they don't, well, there goes the certificate of occupancy and the specific use permit, the latter of which ain't easy to get back. At least, that's how I read it: You get audited, you don't comply, yer finished till you get it together.

Our pal Avi Adelman has a slightly different take. Then, he is the inventor of the phrase "scumbar."

But back to the smoking busts, which are far more interesting than COPs and SUPs, at least at this moment.

A couple of bar owners we've talked to say they think the crackdown's been a bit too selective. Hood says he hears that's about to change and that officers will be sniffing the air in every Lower Greenville joint in coming days -- if only so the raids don't appear to be, well, selective.

"I asked if this was a Lower Greenville crackdown, and they said they'll do this throughout the month till they hit everyone," Hood says.

So, like we said Monday, smoke 'em if you got 'em, just not near Lower Greenville. You could always go back to Deep Ellum. We hear there's gonna be another big empty building available real soon. --Robert Wilonsky

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