|Hemp Beach TV|
|Russell Diercks smokes marijuana inside Frankie's Bar and Grill in Olympia|
By Jeremy Webb
Special to Toke of the Town
I walked up the stairs, eager with anticipation, as the wonderful reality of what I was about to do sent happy shivers up my spine. This was my second time going up these stairs, but I was just as eager as my first.
I took my last, deep, breath of fresh air and walked through the door into the bar. My nose was immediately assaulted by the rancid smell of tobacco smoke, but I knew I wouldn't have to deal with that for much longer.
After ordering drinks, and receiving my new membership card, I sat down at a table directly under a vent, to get away from the tobacco smell. I then loaded the biggest bowl of banana kush I could fit into my pipe.
As I drew in a large hit, all I could think was, "one small toke for man, one giant toke for mankind."
|Olympia resident Tom Wilson, 53, smokes marijuana from a small pipe while dining at Frankie's Bar and Grill|
This was my second trip to Frankie's Bar in Olympia, and though the overwhelming presence of cigarette smoke leaves much to be desired, I find it to be one of the more pleasant bar experiences I've had. The drinks are rather stiff and priced on par with other bars, and for a yearly $10 membership fee (or nightly $1 fee), you can join the private club on the top floor, where cigarettes and, now, marijuana can be smoked.
Frank Schnarr, Frankie's Bar owner, has already shown his willingness to stand up for people's rights. He turned the top of his bar into a private club that allowed cigarette smoke after Washington voters approved initiative 901 in 2005, that banned smoking in public bars and restaurants.
|Frank Schnarr, Frankie's Bar & Grill: "I've got to figure out some way to get people in here"|
Now, with the passing of 502, and the decriminalization of up to an ounce of marijuana for any Washington resident over the age of 21, Frankie's is allowing private club members to smoke marijuana as well.
Frank Schnarr's motives, being himself a non-smoker, were admittedly financial. "I stay up at night." Frank said. "I'm about to lose my business. So I've got to figure out some way to get people in here."
Whether this interpretation of the law will lead to legal issues for Schnarr is still to be determined.
The first time you go in, you will need to go directly to the bar, ask for a year or nightly membership, then verify what areas on the floor you can smoke marijuana in, which is everywhere but four tables in front. With plenty of pool tables, a ping pong table, ample seating including some booth seating, and a jukebox available for people; Frankie's has done a good job creating a pleasant scene.
Both times I've been to Frankie's I've felt very comfortable talking to the staff about marijuana, and have felt very comfortable having my pipe and cannabis on the table. I've been met with a friendly attitude and warm smiles, and one of the bartenders was even kind enough to grab me and my friend a new ash tray that didn't have cigarette butts in it, when she noticed we were smoking marijuana and not tobacco. In my opinion, the staff's positive attitude makes up for the cigarette smell by far.
Though I would not recommend Frankie's to anyone with asthma, lung problems, cancer, or any other medical condition that could be complicated or exacerbated by second hand cigarette smoke, I do recommend it for everyone else! As a medical patient with intestinal issues and intractable pain, I've found the ability to smoke cannabis while having a drink or two allowed me the freedom to go out to the bars and enjoy myself again, a freedom I wasn't privileged to before Frankie's started allowing marijuana smoke.
Also, any recreational smokers that prefer to sip on a beer while having a toke or two of their favorite buds will find Frankie's quickly becoming their new second home.
Check out the Frankie's web site at www.friendsoffrankies.com.