SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Springfield businesses are thinking outside the box when it comes to accommodating customers who smoke. Now into the second week of Springfield's smoking ban, several bars are looking outside to keep smokers coming in.
On the streets of downtown Springfield, you're apt to find more smokers these days. Mainly because they're no longer inside.
"Up and down South Street it's pretty much a smoking lounge," said Matt Netzer, owner of The Outland. "We're doing our best to keep it clean and keep people out of the way of pedestrians."
On most evenings, Netzer's smoking customers crowd the curbs. So he's looking to expand outward, setting up tables out front for those wanting to smoke and drink at his business.
"These people have to go somewhere and I just think it'll up the profile of the business and keep it out of the way of people who are just pedestrians," he said.
Three other bars are a step ahead. The City of Springfield says Electric Cowboy, Stepchild Lounge and Dennis' Place have all requested to build outdoor patio space for smoking and drinking. Dennis' has already broken ground, and hopes to have its open air space open in a few weeks. The City says the requests to expand are no surprise.