We know it has to be a place where we can smoke. So …

Is Key West alright with you all?

Yeah, I thought so …

Hemingway’s old haunt wants return to old days of smoking

The Key West bar considered Ernest Hemingway’s favorite wants to use its landmark status to allow patrons a smoke with their conch fritters — and state lawmakers appear agreeable.

TALLAHASSEE – The favored bar of Key West’s most celebrated drinker, writer, angler and bon vivant may get an exceptional favor of its own: a pass from the state’s smoking ban.

Sloppy Joe’s, the legendary Duval Street institution that advertises itself as Ernest Hemingway’s one-time haunt, complains that the state law which bans smoking in many bars that serve food is too restrictive for a 1930s-era business confined by the city’s historic district from adding, say, a smoking deck.

And state legislators — chuckling as they recall ”patronizing” the Hemingway hangout-turned-tourist attraction — have mostly been happy to oblige. Legislation that would make the restaurant-bar the only one in the state exempt from the smoking ban has cleared several House and Senate committees and awaits votes by the full chambers.

Likening the bar to Rick’s Cafe in the classic movie Casablanca, Sen. Steve Geller, a Hallandale Beach Democrat, guided the legislation Monday through its final Senate committee.

”You think of certain bars as different and unique,” Geller said, drawing peals of laughter as he noted that “to the best of my recollection, I think I’ve been in there once.”

The health groups that put the antismoking initiative on the ballot in 2002 warned that other bars will be emboldened to get around what some consider an unpopular law.

But Geller argued that Sloppy Joe’s deserves special treatment because of its place in Florida history.

”I supported the smoking ban. I wouldn’t be supportive of changing this in general, but I believe there is a legitimate reason for this bar, which is famous, which is known worldwide,” Geller said.

The legislation seeks to restrict the exemption, narrowing it to only bars that, like Sloppy Joe’s, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And hopeful bar owners won’t be able to buy historic buildings and turn them into bars, Geller said — the measure prevents that.

State law allows smokers to light up in bars that keep food sales to 10 percent or less of their gross receipts. … Miami Herald

It’s just a pipe dream … but a girl can dream …

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