“[My husband] always thought he wanted a bar next to his own house so he wouldn’t have to drive,” she tells us, smiling.
Just like home the customers at Virgil’s have certain freedoms they don’t at most Springfield businesses. That’s because Virgil’s is not a Springfield business.
“We thought maybe people would like getting away from town,” says Wrinkle. Out of town and outside city limits. Turns out they also like getting away from new smoking restrictions.
“We thought we would see an increase in business and we have seen a small increase.” A large “Smoker’s Welcome” sign on the front of the fence has helped.
“You can see that plainly from the highway.”
But the bar’s county location hasn’t been all blessing. Virgil’s is a six mile drive north from Springfield and while that gets them out of the ban debacle most customers aren’t keen on drinking and then driving home.
“It’s the chance of getting a DUI,” explains Wrinkle. The customers are still coming though; that’s something city businesses worry about.
Last month a Springfield bowling alley estimated a 10% loss since the April 2011 ban. virgil’s is still looking for ways to attract the crowd that’s going elsewhere.
“It almost seems like any more you have to have something for them to do like karaoke, poke,” or smoking. After all, they can hardly do it anywhere else but home.
“It’s just like hom,” Wrinkle concludes with a laugh.
She says she doesn’t know if having the ban reaffirmed Tuesday will make a difference in her customer count since nothing’s changing.
But remember this is not the end of the smoking issue in Springfield. Tuesday a court of appeals will hear a northside bar’s lawsuit against the city of Springfield and its ban.