Best Trend St. Louis 2011 - Smoking Bars
"Warning: Smoking allowed here." Upon first encounter with this sign early this year, one might be forgiven for thinking it was a cheeky joke. But such signs were standard issue for the bars that got an exemption to the city/county smoking ban that went into effect January 1 — and became the harbinger of hope for drinkers looking to find an escape from the new rules. "We just put those ashtrays there to torture you guys," a bartender at the still-smoking rooftop bar at the Moonrise teases an incredulous smoker, who is thrilled and dubious at the prospect of a Camel alongside her gin martini. Because most bars are now non-smoking, those that still allow several vices at a time trumpet that fact. From a barfly's perspective, it's a win-win: If you smoke, you can go to one of the city's 115 "smoking bars" and be spared the sneers of the pink-lung lobby. And if you don't smoke, there are now plenty of places where you can maintain pristine nasal passages (and sweet-smelling clothes) even as you sully your liver.