Thursday, July 26, 2012

Claude and Annie's Pike Plaza Bar Closes; Smoking Ban Cited as "Direct Cause" for Closing

It was announced today that the Claude & Annie's bar located at Pike Plaza on the northwest side is closing.  The owner, Michael Smythe, a friend of mine and a strong supporter of the Libertarian Party, announced the closing on Facebook.  His brother, Bill, who owns a Claude & Annie's in Fishers, which hasn't adopted a smoking ban, picked up on that announcement and expanded upon it, suggesting the City's smoking ban was a "direct cause" of the closing:
Earlier tonight my brother who owned the Claude & Annie's Pike Plaza posted this on his facebook page.  
"Thursday July 26th, 2012. Claude & Annie's Pike Plaza is CLOSED PERMANENTLY. This page will not be posted to, nor will questions be answered. We have met many wonderful people and made many friendships and memories. Those of you we called friends will be missed but as with life, SHIT happens! C...heers to the BEST bartenders, servers, cooks and floor managers in the business, we had our day!"

This marks the end of the Claude & Annie's locations that once existed in Indianapolis that were first opened 1982. In total there were 13 locations in all but never more than 7 open at any one time. Changing neighborhood demographics and the natural ups and downs of any company that has been in business for almost 30 years led to most of the stores being sold. However, the smoking ban that took effect June 1 was a direct cause of the last 2 locations shutting down. Sadly this is what happens when those in power abuse it in such a way as to remove rights of the owners to cater to their customers as it best fits their neighborhood.

It is no secret that I have opposed the smoking nannies since 2004 for this very reason and in part why this location was built (to be outside of Marion County). I can make no promise of if/when we might choose to go non smoking but I will fight forever to ensure that decision is mine and not some governmental unit.

We have a strong business model here in a strong pro business community and the long term prognosis for another 11 years is good. But we should never forget how quickly and easily those variables can change if the wrong people get into elected office.

Thank you all for your continued patronage and support.
Bill Smythe
It's a shame because Michael was a good business owner, someone who cared about the community.  He could have chosen to run a bar in the suburbs but he instead chose to run it in a neighborhood that had challenges.  Thanks Michael, we'll miss you and your bar.


Had Enough Indy? said...

Maybe they would be so kind as to open their books so we could see if their claim was actually true - not a scapegoat. Seems awfully abrupt... Just sayin'.

Pete Boggs said...

Having been there a time or few, they made significant space for smoking patrons- which is fine by this nonsmoker. My guess is they're telling you straight.

JeffW said...

In all fairness, if it survived only due to its allowing of smoking or when "Smokers Welcome" is your biggest selling point, then that probably speaks volumes to the quality of the rest of the business. I wish them well in Fishers.

LindsayGrace said...

And he closed 1 of the locations before June 1, before the "smoking ban" even took effect.

Jeff Cox said...

"A neighborhood that had challenges?" That's a bit of an understatement. They've called it "Lafayette Scare" since at least the early 1990's. I went to Claude & Annie's there before the ban kicked in and found the place creepy and dead, like most of that neighborhood. And he's blaming the smoking ban? I don't think so, Tim.

artfuggins said...

I, too, was there before there was a smoking ban. Bland food, poor service and I wondered if my car would be in the parking lot when I went outside. The smoking ban was not the cause of this business failure.

Bill said...

I don't think it was the only cause, but to say it was not a cause is just ridiculous. Anyone who has patronized bars on the northwest side knows there are a lot of smokers, likely more than in other areas. Probably more like the straw that broke the camel's back.