Lean people have a favorite saying of "drain the swamp," typically meaning reducing inventory to expose problems. When raw, in-process, and finished goods inventories are reduced, previously-masked production problems such as poor quality, rework, and other wastes become much more evident. It can be a painful process, but it leads to fundamental improvement.
Apparently the same scenario applies elsewhere.
Now that the cigarette smoke has cleared, thanks to the ban that went into effect in January, bar goers are sniffing some bad odors. "When it’s emptier, [a bar] smells like stale beer, spilled alcohol, frat house," said Brittany Allan, 21, a student living in Gold Coast. While taking a break from work downtown, Rahim Slaise, 32, recalled smelling scents of "overbearing cologne, a musk and body odor" at clubs recently.
Ah, yes. Now that the foul smell of cigarette smoke is gone, the other odors become noticeably. To think we were inhaling that calcophony of smells all along. Of course a scientific study was needed to truly analyze this phenomenom, and who better to sponsor it than a deodorant company?
Using odor-gauging equipment called a Nasal Ranger field olfactometer, smell expert Dr. Alan Hirsch identified 46 different odors at a Gold Coast bar in May for a study sponsored by Axe, maker of body sprays. The top odor contributors were a musty/earthy/moldy smell that tends to come from wood, a urine-like scent, a sour/acid/vinegar odor that could come from residual alcohol, and of course the odors of sweat and beer.
It’s bad, my friends. Really bad.
"The bar is a three times more intense smell than the McCormick Place men’s room, or 15 times more or 16 times more intense odor than a coffee shop, and was almost twice as smelly as an animal shelter," said Hirsch, founder of Chicago’s Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, citing odor intensity levels.
The good news is that now that the swamp has been drained, the underlying problems are being addressed.
To get rid of bad odors, bars should maximize ventilation or even inject a scent into the air, said Hirsch, the smell expert. "You could place an aroma at a bar that people like. They will perceive the environment to be more friendly, be happy at the bar and meet more people at the bar," he said. At least one local bar is doing just that.
The Crimson Lounge at the Hotel Sax downtown developed a signature scent even before the smoking ban called suha, a fusion of pomegranate, cinnamon, nutmeg, patchouli, sandalwood, cypress, cedar and vanilla. Dispensed through a programmed and timed device, the scent was created to evoke the dark yet cozy lounge feel, said Adam Kaplan, hotel marketing director. "
Hmmm… as someone who meets the boys for "Guys Night" once a week (the most allowed by our wives…) at a somewhat seedly local establishment, I may learn to miss some of the old aromas. Somehow the smell of pomegranate and nutmeg doesn’t seem to go with Monday Night Football…