The decision is notable because the Afterthought only allows patrons age 21 and older, and therefore is exempt from the state smoking ban passed earlier this month. David Bennett, the Afterthought's general manager, says he thinks the Afterthought will be the first large bar in Little Rock to go smoke-free.
"There is so much evidence now about the dangers of second-hand smoke, and separate smoking areas just don't work in a common space," said Bennett. "Since we were planning a facelift anyway, it seemed the perfect time to change the policy while everything is clean and new."
Anyone who has ever been to the Afterthought -- long a dark, smoky jazz lounge -- understands this is a big change. And that it's voluntarily may signal a cultural shift.