Carmel tavern owner opposes smoking ban for bars, private clubs

Carmel, Indiana, tavern owner opposes smoking ban for bars, private clubs

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A local tavern owner spoke out Monday night against the city’s proposal to outlaw smoking at bars and private clubs. 

Bruce Calabrese, the 31-year owner of Old Town Tavern, said at a City Council meeting, “I think it’s a travesty after 31 years that you’re going to do something that’s almost illegal.”

He said smoking at “a private enterprise” is different from setting limitations for public facilities. “That kind of just sums it up. That sums it up a whole lot.”

Old Town Tavern is among a handful of bars in Carmel that allow smoking.

The original ordinance was introduced in May to regulate the use of e-cigarettes in “public places” following reports of rampant vaping among Carmel High School students.

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During a Finance, Utilities and Rules Committee meeting on June 10, officials discussed adding parks, trails, multiuse paths and school buses to the list of public places covered by the ordinance. The+ committee also discussed adding police officers and community service officers to the list of officials eligible to enforce the ordinance, and creating a “comprehensive smoke-free policy” by revoking smoking ban exemptions from bars and private clubs.

At the June committee meeting, business owners, a physician, a Breathe Easy Hamilton County representative and Carmel High School students urged city officials to enact a comprehensive smoking ban.

Jeff Worrell, president of the Carmel City Council, said Monday night that the proposal remains with the committee. It next meets at 6 p.m. June 26 at Carmel City Hall. The council could vote on the ordinance as soon as its July 1 meeting at 6 p.m.