The Phoenix rises from the ashtrays to banish its smoking customers to a life out in the cold

A stream of thirsty City workers pour into a pub nestling in the shadow of the London Stock Exchange. From the corporate decor to the obligatory potato wedges, the scene appears set for a typical Friday lunchtime in the Square Mile.

Except this pub is anything but standard. A series of tell-tale signs, including the notable absence of ashtrays and the unexpected aroma of food, tell punters that this is London's first non-smoking pub.

A message on an outdoor blackboard shouts the fact that it is "COMPLETELY" non-smoking, while its new logo - "A pub with atmosphere, not smoke" - is emblazoned across every available surface.

In a dramatic reincarnation, The Phoenix this week became the only pub in the capital to refuse to tolerate smokers. And while its arrival in the heart of the City may have incurred the wrath of numerous tobacco-lovers, its first week of trading as a non-smoking venue has proved a success.

Supping on his pint, John Morton, 37, an IT worker from Weybridge, Surrey, said: "I was very curious. I've always hated coming out of the pub and going back to the office smelling of smoke."

His drinking companion, 36-year-old Jon Wale, an IT manager from Tonbridge, Kent, added: "As a social smoker, I'm a guilty smoker. It's good because it's stopping me from having a cigarette I don't need. I'd come back here."

And Bikita Mahdi, a 28-year-old business analyst from Vauxhall, was so enamoured with the new regime that she decided to hold her leaving drinks at The Phoenix.

"I used to really hate coming here," she said. "But the fact it's now non-smoking has changed my opinion. That's why we're here."

Although the no-smoking rule was welcomed by many customers, there was scepticism at plans unveiled by Laurel, which owns The Phoenix, to roll the concept out to more than 100 of its 635 pubs across the country.

Aitken Little, 40, an account director from Fife, Scotland, said: "In a city, when you have a larger clientele, it's a very good idea. But in a smaller town it wouldn't go down so well. You just don't have the same catchment."

The most scathing criticism, however, came from The Phoenix's old smoking customers who found themselves huddled in the cold just yards from their former haunt.

For Richard Woolmer, a 30-year-old solicitor from Loughton, Essex, who works a stone's throw from the pub, its dramatic transformation has not gone down well.

Shivering in the drizzle as he drew deeply on his cigarette, he said: "We used to go there all the time. At lunchtime, in the evening, loads.

"Three out of seven at the firm I work for are smokers. They are going to lose a lot of customers. We're not going any more."

His colleague Tricia Scanlon, a 39-year-old office manager from Chingford, Essex, added: "It's hilarious they think they can get away with something like this - in the City of all places. Loads of people here still smoke."

But, despite the voices of dissent, the scene inside the pub told a different story. Loud-talking City traders continued to sup pints of ale while flush-faced secretaries swapped office secrets over Chardonnay and crisps.

As Debbie Curran, the manager of The Phoenix, said: "There may be some people who don't like the idea but we've found the positive reactions have outweighed the negative."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam