Just a few days ago, James Poblete, the new owner of the Bears Den in Argos announced on Facebook that he is going to make the bar smoke-free.

Marshall County Tobacco Education Coordinator Annette Haining happily shared the news with GIANT fm WTCA on Tuesday. 

The post on the Bears Den Facebook page says, “After 5 months of internal debate and many frank discussions with patrons, I’ve decided to make the interior of the Bear’s Den a non-smoking venue effective Saturday, October 14th.”  James wrote, “This location has housed a smoking bar for nearly all of its 140-year history.  So, for the sake of loyal patrons, the neighborhood in general, and also for the sake of history, I wasn’t casual about making this decision.”

He went on to say that he’s not averse to smoking bars and that his 3 absolute favorite neighborhood bars are all smoking venues.  In the post, he said, “I am not against smoking and I’m not one for excessive restrictions.”

Explaining the process of making the establishment smoke-free, James said, “With respect to the Bear’s Den, there are just so many factors that came into play with this decision:  1) the long-term viability of the Bear’s Den, 2) smoking patrons telling me that even they won’t eat in a smoking venue, 3) employee health, 4) ability to more easily recruit employees as we grow, 5) direct and indirect feedback from the local community, and 6) Marshall County’s decision last month to prohibit smoking in parks.  What that signaled to me regarding the overall opinion of county residents towards smoking in public.”

The new owner of the Bears Den in Argos closed his comments saying, “I appreciate all of our patrons, smokers and non-smokers alike.  I do believe that those who hold the Bear’s Den as near-and-dear to their hearts will understand that it’s best for the future and longevity of the bar.”

P.S.  Pictured here is the Bear’s Den’s 20-foot-long, 130-year-old Brunswick Corporation “Saloon Cabinet” from Chicago… from literally way, way back in time when you called a place like this a “saloon”.  History matters here.