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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Smoking Outside Fox and Hounds (Sans Imper)

My first experience with the DC smoking ban occurred last night when I met EJ and 20 of her closest guy friends for cocktails at Fox and Hounds. I've been to the Fox a million times, heck, I used to live right across the street. Years ago, my then-boyfriend and I practically lived there. We had the menu memorized for what food a temp and a non-profit peon could live off of without dying of food poisoning; a system for hoarding the mini-bottles of soda that came with our vats of rail gin and rail whisky (his kitchen shelf was lined with bottles of diet coke and tonic water that I had smuggled out in my purse); on any given night if you couldn't find either one of us, you obviously weren't trying that hard because we were almost always at the Fox. I loved it there, and part of its familiarity as always been opening the door and being hit in the face by a thick wall of cigarette smoke and stale beer. Unpleasant as it was, eye watering even, the Fox always had it's own particular variety of this olfactory phenomenon--think Proust's madelines for the under-30-Dupont-hipster set.

Last night, opening the door and stepping past its threshold, I was struck immediately by a void--no cigarette smoke, just the scent of stale beer and cleansing product. The air, once thick with smoke was cleaner and easier to see through. Several times I thought a cigarette might be a nice accompaniment to my Jim Beam and Diet Coke, but the feeling would eventually pass. Finally, somebody remarked that a cigarette would be nice, so I brandished my pack and we slipped out to the patio. 17th Street was hopping with pedestrians. More so than usual it seemed, perhaps people still in holiday-revelry mode, smirking at us as they passed, two women chatting tipsily outside a bar over a couple of cigarettes. It's a sight that will only grow more common as the week stretches into the weekend, now only a novelty, until it gradually becomes a fixture on city's cultural topography.

And you know, what? It wasn't so bad, this smoking outside thing. I most certainly smoked less, and this morning my hair and clothing didn't reek. I'm sure there will be times that I'll begrudge it, but so far, so not bad.

And as an added note--you know you're getting old when somebody asks you which of two countries they should plan on visiting first on their next trip to Europe, and your first concern isn't their fun, but their physical safety.


Blogger Kristin said...

I seriously wanted a cigarette last night but didn't smoke. I'm glad the weather's cooperating, easing us into the outside smoking. And it might just be good for me, this ban.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Velvet said...

Aah. The Fox and Hounds. Jeez. That place, why not just hand you the whole bottle of alcohol with the spout and pour it down your throat.

I am surprised though that it aired out in there so fast. I figured we would have to wait until June for the bars to clear out.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Fiery Nuggets said...

I'm looking forward to taking advantage of the smoking-less-because-I-have-to-go-outside phenomenon. I'm convinced that this smoking ban is going to be the thing that makes me quit altogether, because every time I'm in NYC, I just feel like a total a-hole standing outside smoking. BUT, then I was thinking about the new potential for mixing and mingling that you have when all of the smokers have to go outside. Hmmmm. . .

8:33 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

I always thought the not having the hair and clothes smell like smoke excuse pissed off smokers who couldnt smoke inside anymore. To me it just doenst seem like a bar without the smell, and I dont even smoke.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Fox has always had an element of the "under-30-Dupont-hipster set" passing through it, but to characterize it that way is missing the big picture (thank goodness).

1:28 AM  
Blogger Lickety Split said...

I think they'll keep finding new and inventive ways to torture the smokers amongst you. I feel bad for you but in the long run, obviously, it might help you quit if you are so inclined.

5:14 AM  
Blogger Frankly, Scarlett said...

Well last night in a clean air setting wasn't all that bad :) I'm sure the company compensated for the nicotine.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Ryane said...

I know I will be the square non-smoker here, but I am very glad that bars are smoke-free now. =-) If there was a way to contain smoke, I would be all for designated smoking areas, but since that doesn't seem to happen--I would just as soon not smell like smoke the next day, truth be told...

1:23 PM  
Blogger gwadzilla said...

the smoking ban will have its advantages...

social advantages

people will congregate out front to have their smoke

people who would have never encountered each other as they would normally be focused on the other people at their table will be standing by the curb making new aquaintances

I do not smoke...

maybe I will have to start

4:04 PM  
Blogger gwadzilla said...

someone spotted Chelsy Clinton at The Fox sometime last week

5:38 PM  

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