Can Alcoholic Beverages Be Sold At Hookah or Cigar Bars?

Smoky Martini Glass

Is it legal to enjoy your finest tobacco with a martini?

Depending on which state you’re in, smoking indoors is either legal or illegal. To further complicate the issue, even where indoor smoking is prohibited, loopholes exist in many states. This hot-potato, health vs. personal liberty, issue is handled at the state level, and there is no federal legislation addressing smoking in private venues anywhere on the horizon.

Let’s take a look at just one state, California, to see how smoking and alcoholic beverage sales is handled.

In 1994, the California Legislature enacted Labor Code section 6404.5 which bans smoking in the workplace. This effectively prohibits smoking within most establishments that serve alcoholic beverages.

Section 6404.5 allows smoking in the workplace, as shown below:

  • Bars and gaming clubs, only through 1/1/1998, after which date smoking is prohibited.
  • Employers with a total of five or fewer employees, subject to age, consent and ventilation requirements.
  • Hotels: Sixty-five percent of guestrooms, designated areas within hotel lobbies, and hotel banquet facilities.
  • Wholesale tobacco shops and private smoking lounges (including hookah lounges) that are entirely dedicated to smoking.
  • Employee break rooms designated for smoking.

But there are some exceptions that permit smoking and the sale of alcohol, as follows:

A facility that wishes to permit indoor smoking and serve alcoholic beverages at the same time may be able to do so under the following scenarios:

  1. Allow smoking only in an unenclosed (i.e., outdoor) space, such as a patio,
  2. Operate the business as a sole proprietorship or partnership with no employees, OR
  3. Maintain a payroll of five or fewer active employees AND operate as
  1. a restaurant, or
  2. a private club type 57 club license.

So, if you’re willing to do what it takes to secure a liquor license, you can have your pipe and smoke it too, and you can do so with your favorite alcoholic libation in hand.





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