Ohio’s three-week-old smoking ban in bars has left at least one Cleveland nightclub owner “bitter” over the way health inspectors regulate it.
John Katsaros of Twist (11633 Clifton Blvd.; 216-221-2333) says investigators came into his gay club on May 7 after someone filed a complaint the day after the law kicked in May 3. The grievance carped about how smokers on the bar’s sidewalk patio were “infiltrating” the club when its two garage-door-like entrances were opened.
On the day of their spot-check, inspectors decided to let Katsaros off the hook of a potential $2,500 fine because they couldn’t find ashtrays in the bar, nor could they nail anyone smoking on the patio. Instead, they advised Katsaros that smokers can light up outside the patio, which is enclosed by a wrought-iron fence. They can also smoke in the bar’s back parking lot, where a sympathetic patron has donated a knee-high plastic ashbin.
Still, Katsaros – a nonsmoker who estimates two-thirds of his regulars are nicotine fiends -- shakes his head over the inspection. “This whole thing has left me bitter,” he moans. “The ones who complain – those are the ones you have to watch out for.” – Cris Glaser