Cigarettes certainly aren’t the poison of choice for college students, but for those students that do smoke, fear not, smoking in bars is still (de facto) allowed in St. Louis. For those who’d rather enjoy a cold beverage on a beautiful February day, come to St. Louis, where it’s legal to drink in public… including Forest Park.
However, technically, as of January 2, 2016 it is no longer legal to smoke in a bar in St. Louis – but bar owners are fighting to keep a provision alive that permits certain small bars to apply to be exempted. For the last 5 years places like The Famous Bar, Saratoga Lanes, Par Lounge, and The Silver ballroom permitted its patrons to smoke. While these establishments are known for other things beyond smoking, one bar fought the law and won.
Trophy Room, located in South City and owned by Herbert Krischke, successfully got a judge to block the city from enforcing the ordinance. Bar owners like Kirsch, who estimate that 75 to 85 percent of their clientele smoke, have profit motive to fight the law. Even though the law is in legal limbo, many bar owners will ignore the law and end date on exemptions. While St. Louis has noble motives, the city will have a difficult time countering the de facto continuation of smoking in these bars.
Nonetheless, St. Louis isn’t trying to get rid of laws that permit drinking in public or the passenger seat of a car. The state of Missouri has no general open container laws for vehicles. This means that it’s totally legal for a passenger to drink through the entire cross-state trip on I-70 from Kansas City to St. Louis, only having to close the container while going through the city limits of Independence, Bates City, Columbia, Forestall, and St. Charles.
The lack of any general state law prohibiting drinking in public even grants you the right to consume alcohol without limitation in public parks, including Forest Park, just down the road. Natty, anyone?