Wally Kubley, co-owner of the bar and a non-smoker, says he’s wanted to go smoke-free for quite a few years, but there was a bit of an “in-house conflict” that delayed that decision.
A statewide smoking ban has been proposed in the Legislature, and while it didn’t make it through this year, Kubley says he believes it’s going to happen soon. With that in mind, he and the Sourdough’s other owners agreed a few weeks ago to make the switch.
Some communities in Southeast, such as Juneau, have decided to ban smoking in public places, including bars. Individual bars in other towns, such as Wrangell, are choosing on their own to go smoke-free.
Kubley says he believes the switch will improve business. Tourists like to visit the Sourdough, to look at all the historic shipwreck photos that are displayed throughout the bar. However, he says many of those out-of-town visitors turn around at the door when they get a whiff of the secondhand smoke hanging in the air.
Kubley notes that many local residents also won’t come into the Sourdough Bar, and he hopes they will now feel more welcome.
On top of all the other benefits, Kubley says it will take significantly less time and effort to clean the bar each night, and should cut the annual “deep cleaning” in half.
The switch to a smoke-free Sourdough happens this Thursday, May 1st.