Photo: Bita Honarvar/ AJC FILE
Photo: Bita Honarvar/ AJC FILE

No butts about it -- The Vortex is going smoke-free

Restaurant and bar surveyed more than 11,000 customers before making the call

As of today, you’ll be able to breathe a little easier at both locations of The Vortex.

The restaurant and bar -- which has locations in Midtown and Little Five Points -- announced it will no longer allow smoking inside after surveying 11,000 customers online throughout January, What Now Atlanta first reported. 

Owner Michael Benoit addressed the decision in a post on the restaurant’s website.

Since 1992, The Vortex has always been the place where you can eat, drink and, yes, smoke to your heart’s content. And many people stand by the old cliché, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But the plain truth is, we’ve noticed fewer and fewer of our customers utilizing the option to smoke at our bar. And we’ve also seen a significant decrease in the number of our employees who smoke. A few years back it was 100%. Now, it’s definitely a minority.

Our fans have spoken, and we have made a decision. Ready? Here it is: Smoking will no longer be allowed anywhere INSIDE our premises. However, since smoking has always been an option at The Vortex, and since a slightly higher than average percentage of our clientele may actually smoke, we will still offer smokers the option to do their thing outdoors.

At The Vortex-Midtown, the smoking of cigarettes (and e-cigarettes) will be allowed when dining outside on our sidewalk patio. At The Vortex-L5P, smoking will be allowed on the open fenced waiting area just outside the bar, known as the “playpen.” The smoking of cigars, pipes, clove cigarettes or anything deemed “illegal” by the evil overlords will continue to be forbidden. These policy changes will all go into affect immediately at both Vortex locations – like, right now, even as you’re reading this – right in the middle of Atlanta’s 2019 Super Bowl celebration.

We believe that this policy change will help satisfy the largest number of patrons possible. I suppose many people will celebrate these decisions, while others may be slightly disappointed. But I hope everyone keeps one thing in perspective. As always, we are doing our best to please our core group of supporters. And this really is only about a smoking policy in a bar. So relax. Everything will be fine. Just take a deep breath – in the newly clean air of The Vortex.

The post laid out several figures from the poll: 

60.6 percent of respondents said they’ve been patrons of The Vortex for 6 years or longer

54.6 percent said that they’ve smoked and another 25.7 percent said that they used to smoke but no longer do

51.5 percent majority said they do not patronize The Vortex (or patronize less) because smoking is allowed

69.5 percent said they would like to see the smoking policy change

The Vortex, which Benoit opened with his brother Hank and sister Suzanne in 1992, serves a variety of burgers and a large selection of craft beers. The restaurant has long had a 21-and-over-only policy, which coincides with the fact that smoking cigarettes was always allowed on the premises, even though none of the siblings smoke.

Several other longtime Atlanta bars that previously allowed smoking have gone smoke-free in the past few years, including Moe’s and Joe’s and Manuel’s Tavern.


Learn to make the White Chicken Chili from The Vortex

More intown Atlanta dining news

Read the 2018 AJC Fall Dining Guide: Dining on Buford Highway 

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