George Berry smoked what amounts to one of his last cigarettes at Towey's Tavern on Tuesday.
Come Oct. 14, Berry and other smokers who frequent the nearly 40-year-old Irish-themed pub at 117 S. York Road, will need to step outside before lighting up as Towey's becomes a smoke-free establishment.
"A non-smoker is less inclined to come to a smoking bar nowadays," James Kinney said of his reasoning behind the change, adding that he hopes to open his business to "new clientele."
A non-smoker himself, Kinney, who has owned the bar with his wife Trish since 1996, said he has only heard a few "negative comments" about the impending switch to smoke-free.
"It's scary," he said. "Because it's change."
Besides ensuring cleaner air in the roughly 75-seat pub, the Kinneys are also planning to roll out a new food menu. Kinney said he hopes to put a greater emphasis on a hot roast beef sandwich, cooked on the grill, like a cheesesteak, that he views as Towey's "signature sandwich."
Kinney said he's looking to incorporate acoustic music, as well as DJs into the pub's entertainment mix, which also includes Texas Hold'Em on Thursday nights.
He's also planning to add a 60 or 65-inch TV over the pub's grill area toward the back of the bar in the coming weeks.
But mostly, Kinney, of Chalfont, said he is proud to help maintain the tavern that's been a part of his life since he was 14 years old. Back then, Kinney traveled every Sunday with his best friend - the son of former owner Jim Towey - to the bar to help clean up.
"I got paid for it," Kinney said of the $10 weekly salary.
Following high school, when he was looking for a change from his tire retreading business, the relationship he built with the Toweys presented him with "a sweet thing."
As Jim Towey became ill with pancreatic cancer and eventually succumbed to the disease, Kinney took the helm of Towey's Tavern, keeping the pub's name the same because "Jim asked me if I would."
"It's an honor to me," Kinney said.
Since Jim Towey gutted and remodeled the tavern in 1989, it has stayed relatively the same. Kinney said he has redecorated and maintained the look.
The smoke-free atmosphere will be the first major change since he became owner in November 1996.
"I've done everything I can to deal with the smoking," Kinney said. "Any business is always evolving to a point."