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After Surveying 11,000 Guests, The Vortex Is Going Smoke-Free

'Our fans have spoken, and we have made a decision. Ready? Here it is: Smoking will no longer be allowed anywhere INSIDE our premises.'

The Vortex as of February 1, 2019, will no longer allow smoking inside.

Its new policy, effective at both the Little Five Points and Midtown restaurants, is the result of a month-long survey with 11,000 entries.

“Since 1992, The Vortex has always been the place where you can eat, drink and, yes, smoke to your heart’s content,” Michael Benoit, owner of The Vortex, said on a blog post regarding the survey’s results.

“And many people stand by the old cliché, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ But the plain truth is, we’ve noticed fewer and fewer of our customers utilizing the option to smoke at our bar. And we’ve also seen a significant decrease in the number of our employees who smoke. A few years back it was 100%. Now, it’s definitely a minority.”

For the entire month of January, The Vortex hosted the smoking survey through its website.

Here are the results:

  • 60.6 percent claim to have been patrons of The Vortex for 6 years or more
  • 54.6 percent of the respondents said that they have never smoked and another 25.7 percent said that they used to smoke but no longer do
  • 51.5 percent majority of survey-takers claim that they do not patronize The Vortex (or patronize less) because smoking is allowed
  • 69.5 percent of survey-takers said that they would like to see the smoking policy change

“Our fans have spoken, and we have made a decision. Ready? Here it is: Smoking will no longer be allowed anywhere INSIDE our premises,” Benoit posted.

“However, since smoking has always been an option at The Vortex, and since a slightly higher than average percentage of our clientele may actually smoke, we will still offer smokers the option to do their thing outdoors.”

At The Vortex Midtown, the smoking of cigarettes (and e-cigarettes) will be allowed when dining outside on our sidewalk patio.

At The Vortex Little Five Points, smoking will be allowed on the open fenced waiting area just outside the bar, known as the “playpen.”

“The smoking of cigars, pipes, clove cigarettes or anything deemed ‘illegal’ by the evil overlords will continue to be forbidden.”

These policy changes will all go into effect immediately at both Vortex locations.

“We believe that this policy change will help satisfy the largest number of patrons possible. I suppose many people will celebrate these decisions, while others may be slightly disappointed. But I hope everyone keeps one thing in perspective. As always, we are doing our best to please our core group of supporters. And this really is only about a smoking policy in a bar. So relax. Everything will be fine. Just take a deep breath in the newly clean air of The Vortex.”

The Vortex Smoke Free
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Graphic: Official

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak (CJS) is the Founder of What Now Atlanta (WNA). He was featured in The New York Times, Creative Loafing's "20 People to Watch," named "Lifestyle Blogger You Need To Know" by Rolling Out Magazine and highlighted as Atlanta's Metropolitan Male in fashion magazine, 944. WNA has been named "Best of Atlanta" by Creative Loafing, and Atlanta and Jezebel Magazines.

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7 Comments

  1. I applaud your decision and methodology used to make this decision. I don’t smoke and have been going to the Vortex for 20+ years. I would have continued to eat here even if the policy didn’t change, but No Smoking is def a plus for me and opens up bringing visiting friends and family to share the food and experience. I know this was not an easy decision for your business, but you did your research and the people have spoken!

  2. I’m pretty disappointed. I love taking out of town guests here who enjoy lighting up after a meal. Many people marvel at this rare option. There’s very few places for us smokers and plenty for nonsmokers, so I’m honestly tired of hearing nonsmokers complain. What’s next, being more family friendly? We’ll just hit the Highlander from now on.

  3. The fact that it’s 2019, and they had to take a survey on this is absurd. Any rational business owner would know that allowing indoor smoking reduces the number of guest that will visit your establishment. I for one would NEVER consider visiting the Vortex, simply because of the smoking.

  4. Good.
    After 20 years, pretty much stopped going because of the smoke.
    Last time we went, I had to have my suit cleaned to get the stale ashtray smell out, an additional cost I should not have to incur.
    Kudos to Vortex.

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