Pubs in the North of England have reacted positively to the Government's smoking ban, saying they will replace lost drink sales with a better food offering.
The ban on smoking in enclosed public places is due to come into force in mid-2007 and could have a bigger impact on the more traditional wet-led boozers in the North.
George Philliskirk, chief executive of the Beer Academy, said: "It's an opportunity for pubs and bars in the North to focus on food and widen their customer base, perhaps attracting more females and families."
Jason Danciger, catering manager at the Laurel Pub Company, was also positive: "There's no doubt that a smoking ban in England will fuel food sales in both the North and South. The question is whether it can offset lost drink sales."
However, Simon Ward, director of public affairs at Mitchells & Butlers, relished the opportunity. "The challenge of the ban is to capture new trade from lapsed pub-goers that maybe avoided their local because it was too smoky."
A north-south divide in Booze-only pubs
In last year's British Medical Association's survey, Leeds had the most boozers that didn't serve food (88%).
Chesterfield, Sunderland, Bradford, Macclesfield, Oldham,
and Calderdale, also scored highly in the same survey.
Anti-smoking lobby group Fresh concluded the North-east "has a very high number of pubs… [that] don't serve food".
By Chris Druce