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June 4, 2008

What's worse: stink or smoke?

cigarette smokeSince the smoking ban started a few months ago, I've noticed something in bars and clubs I never noticed before.

It's the smell. ...

I feel ... saturated by moldy stale beer and body odor.

Some places in this city stink. Especially when people inside are dancing.

And like it or not, cigarette smoke covered up the odor. Personally, I'd rather smell cigarette smoke than B.O.

There are places I won't go now (and I'm not naming names) because I know it stinks in there.

Gutter blogger Andy Shankman wrote about this in his review of TaxLo's sixth anniversary blowout at Sonar.

No, I don't like getting smoke blown in my face, and I don't want to get in all the politics behind the smoking ban (we've been there), but I'm curious to know if any of you have noticed this and, if so, what you think about it. 

(AP Photo) 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:45 AM | | Comments (25)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


So much for "Clean Air".

I suppose as long as those people don't have to go home and shower, wash their hair and clothes clean of all that cigarette smoke, they don't care if they go home stinking of stale alcohol and other peoples body odor (and those smells cling just as much). Now I know why so many more people seem to smell so dirty these days. And here I thought my sense of smell just got more sensitive.

Definitely the smell.
The smoke there's always the chance you can change your seating to be up wind, but the smell, there's no escaping it and worse, it tends to cling to you that others notice*, if they are discrete enough not to mention it.

*Former smokers tend to have a heighten awareness to smell, especially if it's stale.

Smoke can come out of clothes and hair. Stink stays with you for a while. Charles Village Pub has always smelled of vomit and bleach and that is reason enough to stay out. Though it can be fun to pick up teeth from the floor after a couple of fist-pumpers get into a fight over some girl from Cherry Hill, NJ.

I didn't read the rest of the article, but tended to go to places with people who smoked, could.

Clubs with a busy dance floor were always a different, and sometimes dramatic, offending experience.

The B.O. is worse to me, though there were always a few bars that just reeked too much of smoke. I've noticed the B.O. and various cleaner fumes more these days and I find them intolerable sometimes. Still, I think the biggest problem is bad smelling or allergy inducing foods such as peanuts that contaminate everything. Ban those next!

Stink and the reason is that many bars do not clean on a daily or even weekley basis. I don't understand how money can flow through a place, but they can't hire someone to wipe the tables or clean the bathrooms.

I think that some bars and stores just do not clean very well, including their heating or air conditioning systems. I have noticed that stale smoke smell in several stores. If you have lots of people in a space dancing there should be good ventilation, and the filters need to be replaced or cleaned regularily. I would not want to hang out in a stinky place, with or without the 'fresh' smoke.

Why not a Fab Five worst new BO bar? Duda's in Fells now has a nice wet dog feel that permeates until you enjoy a warm chili bake.

You can now smell the beer brewing at Wharf Rat downtown, but the one in Fells just has a faint stale beer odour on quiet evenings.

You're right about the smells in the bar. Flies and bugs are more prone to hang out in the bars, too, now that the smoke is gone. And let's not forget the terrible food/grease-pit odors coming from the kitchens in these places. I went home smelling like a chicken box and I eat fried chicken!!!

Yeah right! Are you kidding? Smoke is so much worse!! I sense grumpy smokers here.

In the old days, you had the stale beer and BO, even when the smoke was covering it up. So now, without smoke, it can't be any worse than the previous smoke-beer-BO mixture. If you were "sitting up wind" as Lynda F said, you'd still have the BO and beer problem.

It might take some establishments a bit of time to figure out how to clean better, now that the smoke is gone.

Ban peanuts eh? Good call, let's just ban everything that offends anyone! Better yet, let's stay in our hermetically sealed living rooms. Huzzah for the future! I say let's ban vegetarian food - it offends my carnivourous sensetivities!

Why are we blaming the smoking ban and not the bars themselves?

Get some ventilation in the place, control the behavior of your patrons, mop your floors, clean your bathrooms... maybe the places won't stink so much.

Sweaty people smell bad. Sometimes you can't stop people from sweating or smelling bad. But enough ventilation and air circulation should help out a bit, don't you think?

I can't stand bars that get by on the "we sell beer and play music" standard. College student driven or not, keep your place clean.

What is needed is a state law that prohibits people from leaving their houses until that have properly abluted themselves.

Also a law that prevents bars from serving beer. And as we all know no one will go out of business because of this law.

BTW, can you die from second hand body odor?

only if you dehydrate by vomiting to death

I'm sure you were one of the first people to complain about the smoke in the bars...If you don't like the smell of a bar drink at home!!

The smoke by far is the worst; there is no way that I could die by smelly stank ... and beer.

Yup! I know exactly what you mean.

I'll take the stink to the deadly smoke any time. Tell people not to smoke and they want to fight you. Tell them they stink and they take a bath. Tell the bar owner his bar stinks and he will probably clean it up.

Why don't people ever stop complaining? If a bar smells, leave or bury your nose in your glass and drink up.

Bars smell? WOW who would have guessed?

I will use the same argument here that moronic smokers have used for years, if you don't like the smell then don't go there.

Pasadena George, I'd love to watch you tell someone they stunk. You really think they'd put their tail between their legs and slink off to take a bath?

And you think a bar owner would get out a mop and bucket because you told him his bar stunk? You'd either get thrown out or punched in the face, depending on where you were.

I've been saying this since visiting Boston, New York and the like before Maryland went smoke-free. But even worse than the B.O. and stale beer...the bathrooms! The smell of urine is overwhelming.

Interesting. The smoking ban coincided with my finding out I was pregnant and therefore quitting smoking, so both of those may contribute to my heightened sense of smell. But the few times i have been in clubs since then, I have noticed that it smells like alchohol breath. Like the bum in front of you at the liquor store buying lotto. I would take cigarette smoke over that any day.

Both are terrible. i cant stand the smell of cigarettes/ Every time i smell it, it makes me almost barf.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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