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CigarFriendly Establishments Reviews

La Casa del Habano
Montreal, Canada

The staff of recently visited one of the most beautiful cities in all of North America, Montreal. Our travels were based in Old Montreal at the Hotel Gault, but on a lovely weekend afternoon one week prior to the ever popular F1 Formula Grand Prix we decided to pop in at the La Casa del Habano on Sherbrooke. In a nutshell, one of the nicest LCDH�s we have visited. This location is on a very elegant street, not too far from a popular museum and just up the street from The Ritz Carlton. As we walked into this shop, we noticed it was divided into 2 humidor sections�one with limited edition cigars designed specifically for the worldwide La Casa del Habanos along with a standard selection of cigars and another walk in humidor devoted to Regional Edition and Vintage Cigars�boxes of cigars that have been aged a minimum 5-10 years and vacuum sealed for their protection. I was quite impressed with the Juan Lopez Supreme and Ramom Allones figurado that was produced specifically for the Canadian market and this shop had other regional cigars on hand�most notably Bolivars from Asia. Overall, a very impressive selection though�this being Canada�prices were high due to the tax on tobacco products within that country. This shop also features a very nice lounge area with comfortable leather chairs and a full service bar. If your travels happen to take you to Montreal, we highly suggest a visit to this well stocked and well furnished branch of this popular franchised chain of authentic Cuban cigars.


Prague, Czech Republic

Having spent the past several years exploring many different Latin American cities, I decided it was time to try something different and visit one of Europe's most beautiful cities, Prague. I had an absolutely wonderful 7 day visit in mid-late May, 2011 that included a day trip to the picturesque town of Karlovy Vary. The weather was sensational with daytime temperatures reaching the low-mid 70's with very little rain.

My home base for this trip was the beautiful, 5 star Buddha-Bar Hotel. I could not have been more pleased with my selection as this hotel is situated on a quiet street corner ideally situated within close walking distance to most of Prague's prime tourist attractions (Old Town Square) as well as restaurants, drinking, and smoking establishments. The amenities were all first class including the in-room Bang & Olufsen entertainment system (complete with Buddha-Bar music soundtracks), electric blinds, electric toilet, rain shower with separate bathtub, and evening turn down service complete with nightly quiche and truffles. The staff was very responsive to all our needs and the breakfast in the Siddharta Cafe each morning was fabulous. The hotel is very sensuous and pulls off its Asian motif quite well.

Prague, as well as the entire Czech Republic, is well known for its beer (some would claim the finest in the world) and its beautiful women (some would claim the finest in the world). Who knew, however, that Prague is one of the most cigar-friendly cities in the world which is refreshing considering all the anti-smoking campaigns that have taken effect around the world.

Our first stop was at La Bodeguita del Medio (yes, the same restaurant they have in Havana). This is quite possibly the most lively bar in all of Prague and features a downstairs bar and dining section with a stage where salsa dancers perform. It also features an upstairs second level that has a small but adequate walk-in humidor as well as a private, members only Cohiba Atmosphere that is stunning. We did not dine at Cohiba Atmosphere but the ambience is quite nice and the menu looked delicious. There is a private conference room, lounge area complete with comfortable sofas, and a gorgeous bar area. I enjoyed a nice Partagas Serie D 4 while sifting a glass of Havana Club 7 year old rum in the lounge area before working my way downstairs to the main bar to listen to salsa music. It seemed a bit odd listening to people around me talking in Czech and Russian while listening to salsa music, but I got used to it after awhile. La Bodeguita del Medio is a must stop for any cigar aficionado visiting Prague.

The next evening I had a most enjoyable meal at La Casa Argentina, a similar but more upscale restaurant owned by the same group that owns La Bodeguita del Medio. The ambience is even more spectacular with a beautiful bar that features a mural of tango dancers below the famous Pilsner Urquell label. It also is home to an actual fish tank that contains piranhas, a back room that has an iguana, and an upstairs room with little monkeys. No need to visit the Prague Zoo--just come here. The food was very good, with the beef imported from Argentina. My date and I each had a steak cooked to perfection along with empanadas and a nice bottle of Malbec. Like their sister restaurant, there was a live salsa band performing (with a lead singer from Cuba) and it was quite common to see many couples on the dance floor. This was perhaps my most fun evening in Prague. La Casa Argentina sells Cuban cigars at their restaurant and it is possible to smoke indoors while watching the salsa band, or you can bring in your own Cuban from the La Casa del Habano which is located next door.

Other memorable places to smoke a great cigar include the rooftop Black Angels bar at the U Prince Hotel which has an amazing view of Old Town Square as well as the smoking rooms inside the beautiful Aria Hotel and The Brewery inside the lovely Augustine Hotel, both of which are located in the Mala Strana section of Prague. In terms of The Brewery, they serve unpasteurized Czech beer on draft in a cave like setting that is very nice. For another underground, cave like setting where you can smoke and watch and listen to outstanding music I highly recommend Blues Sklep--where top notch blues bands perform on a nightly basis. Of course, Prague is home to some lovely outdoor cafes and bakeshops where you can enjoy a nice espresso to compliment your cigar.

If you are looking for Old World charm in a picturesque city that still permits cigar smoking almost anywhere, the staff of CigarFriendly,com encourages you to consider Prague for your next vacation destination.

Esch Caf�
Rua Dias Ferreira, # 78
Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

There are many people, myself included, who consider Rio de Janeiro to be the most naturally beautiful city in the world. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the front and lakes and majestic mountains in the back, Rio is a visitors paradise. After a hard day of strolling along the beach and looking at all the beautiful people in scantily clad beach attire, it is very comforting to know that there is a cigar paradise in the upscale Leblon section of Rio that is a wonderul place to relax, enjoy delicious meals, drink a caipirinha, and smoke a wonderful Cuban Cigar. I am referring, of course, to the Esch Caf�. Owner Edgar Esch has spent his entire life in the tobacco business and owns a second, La Casa del Habano franchised Cuban Cigar shop in the commercial Centro section of town. Esch Caf� offers its visitors a full menu with outstanding cuisine (I personally recommend their Penne Amitriciana or Steak) and a full bar. There is usually live music entertainment and�during my visit in December, 2004�a master roller from the Partagas Factory in Havana was at the shop rolling excellent, ready-to-smoke cigars. Esch Caf� carries most of the major Cuban brands as well as some local Brazilian brands. Leblon is a very nice and safe section of Rio, no more than 5 or 10 minutes from Ipanema, with many dining and entertainment options. The staff of strongly encourages you include to include Esch Caf� as one of these options on your next visit to Rio de Janeiro�we certainly will return.


Cabana Las Lilas
Av. Alicia Moreau de Justo 516
Puerto Madero
Buenos Aires, Argentina

As a former New Yorker, I find myself very knowledgeable and demanding when it comes to quality steak and classify steak houses into two categories, (1) Peter Luger and (2) all others. I have just returned from a recent trip to Argentina�which bills itself as the steak capitol of the world�and am very pleased to report that Cabana Las Lilas in the trendy Puerto Madero section of Buenos Aires can compete toe-to-toe with the famed Peter Luger of Brooklyn. Upon entering this establishment, which many consider to be the finest steak house in all of Buenos Aires, diners are immediately whisked past the open-air grill where there are numerous cuts of beef being cooked to perfection--as only Argentines know how to do. On a nice evening, please be sure to ask for an outside table overlooking the water. Cabana Las Lilas has the added distinction of raising cattle on its own farm and delivering choice meats to demanding consumers such as myself. Without question, the house specialty is the Ojo de Bife (ribeye) which has sensationally strong and flavorful meat characteristics while remaining unusually tender. This dish is best accompanied with �puff potatoes�, seasoned vegetables, and an outstanding list of Argentine wines�the best choice is a Malbec wine (Argentina�s version of Cabernet Sauvignon) from the Mendoza region. An excellent alternative are the wonderfully grilled lamb chops. Following dinner, you should head to the bar area where manager Eduardo Rodriguez will bring out a humidor filled with authentic Cuban Cigars supplied by the local La Casa del Habano and serve Havana Club 7 year old rum. It is hard to imagine a better overall dining experience anywhere in the world and definitely gives 2 thumbs up to Cabana Las Lilas.

Red Cloud Cigar Lounge
118 W. Wilshire Avenue
Fullerton, CA
In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult--if not impossible-- for residents of California to enjoy a fine cigar and an alcoholic beverage at the same time in the great indoors without violating the law. Furthermore, many private clubs where such a combination was possible have shut down as the cigar boom has slowly faded. Fortunately for many Orange County residents and visitors, the Red Cloud Cigar Lounge in Fullerton has withstood these challenges and offers the finest cigar club experience in all of California--bar none. Red Cloud has an extensive selection of cigars in their front walk-in humidor that will get even better now that they have been authorized as a Fuente OpusX dealer. Visitors to this classy and posh cigar lounge have the option of purchasing cigars and enjoying them in the front portion of the store with no fee. There also exists a private, "members only" section in the back of the shop that is very reminiscent of the VIP floor at an upscale hotel. Specifically, there is a full bar (beer, wine and liquor), comfortable seating along with a number of television sets (including one big screen), and a pool hall room with 3 tables. Throw in the beautiful and luscious bartenders, Christine and Shannon, along with the comfortable surroundings--which includes a full wall length mural of a tobacco field--and you have the makings of a cigar lounge that rivals those in Cuba or, domestically, Club Macanudo. Red Cloud Cigar Lounge is located in the historic, Old Town section of Fullerton where there is ample parking and numerous dining alternatives. Please check them out on your next visit to town.....chances are you will sign up for a membership on your first visit.
21 Central Steakhouse
21 Central Steakhouse
21 Central Way
Kirkland, WA 98033
The Seattle area has always been home to a number of outstanding steakhouses, such as the Metropolitan Grill and El Gaucho. Crossing the Sound and heading over to the Eastside suburban community of Kirkland (which is also where many Microsoft employees live) is a wonderful restaurant that maintains this tradition--21 Central Steakhouse. Walking into this fine establishment, one is immediately greeted by an impressive wooden bar--that was purchased at auction and previously belonged to Duke's 5th Avenue (another Seattle institution)-- and a spacious dining area that features comfortable table and booth seating. The menu features different cuts of beef, including porterhouse and sirloin; however, the house specialty is the filet mignon. A complete wine list is available to complement your meal and the staff--led by the manager, Kent, and the warm and lovely bartender, Carriel, are there to answer your questions and cater to your individual needs. On weekends, 21 Central Steakhouse offers live jazz. Finally, what would the ultimate steakhouse be without cigars.....good news--the restaurant permits cigar smoking after 10:00 PM (afterall, who wants to breathe in smoke while enjoying an exquisite piece of beef) and even maintains a small, but adequate, selection behind the bar. For an excellent meal, in great surroundings, with ample parking, and equally impressive service, we encourage you to give the good folks at 21 Central Steakhouse a shot.
Comodoro Hotel & Bungalows
Comodoro Hotel & Bungalows
Havana, Cuba

Ave 1ra. y Calle 84
Ciudad de la Habana
For visitors to Cuba who wish to enjoy a resort-like atmosphere, there is no better place in all of Havana to spend one's vacation than the Comodoro. Located on a spectacular ocean front setting in the beautiful suburban section of Havana known as Miramar, the Comodoro offers its clients a choice of bungalow suites or recently renovated, traditional hotel rooms. Our preference is the bungalows which are a bit more personal and offer creature comforts such as a spacious living room areas (perfect for entertaining) and outdoor balconies--many of which overlook a maze of outlandishly built pools that give occupants the feeling they are vacationing in Europe. The personal attention and service provided to guests at the Comodoro is second to none-this should come as no surprise since the property serves as a training ground to many Cubans entering the tourism industry. The Comodoro provides other amenities as well, including a self-contained shopping center, on-premise rental car facilities, travel advisors that can arrange nearby excursions or visits to other Cuban tourist destinations and cities, and outstanding restaurants-including the wonderful breakfast buffet. Perhaps best of all, you can visit nearby Havana (only 10-15 minute drive) during the day and return to the peaceful tranquility of the Comodoro at night. For information on this resort-as well as others that are managed by Cubanacan, the largest tourism operator in all of Cuba-please telephone (537)24-5551 or visit them on the web.
The Sports Den
The Sports Den
9900 S.W. Canyon Road
Portland, Oregon
I was in the beautiful Portland suburb of Beaverton the other week and faced a major dilemma....I wanted to find a comfortable place where I could enjoy a fine cigar while watching the Yankees baseball game and the Miami Heat/Knicks playoff series, all at the same time (I'm not too demanding, am I?). Much to my surprise I found an excellent cigar bar, located inside the Shilo Inn, called The Sports Den. This place features a state-of-the-art air filtration system, three satellite big screen television sets for sporting events, espresso, liqueurs, cognac, and more. You can even dine on snacks or have a full meal from Mulvaney's Restaurant--located just downstairs and part of the Shilo Inn (no need to leave The Sports Den--the waitress will bring the food right to your table). There are usually extra copies of Cigar Aficionado lieing around and you can either bring your own cigar or purchase one from their humidor. The Sports Den is open Monday through Saturday from 3:00 PM - 10:00 PM and is only 10 minutes from downtown Portland. If your travels ever take you in this area we would certainly encourage to stop on by.
Del Frisco
Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House
5251 Spring Valley Road
Dallas, Texas
There is much debate when it comes to naming the best steak house in America....there is a unanimous consensus and no doubt when it comes to listing Del Frisco's as one of the top two or three contenders, if not higher. Situated in suburban North Dallas in beautiful surroundings, Del Frisco's has a very warm and charming ambience from the second one steps foot through the front door. There is a wonderful bar in the center of the restaurant along with several rooms where you can enjoy an excellent and diversified menu featuring USDA prime beef, succulent Australian lobster tail, or osso buco--all cooked to perfection. Each meal is accompanied with warm, fresh baked sesame seed bread and can be complimented with delicious side orders and an award-winning wine list that is second to none. At the conclusion of your meal diners are afforded the privilege of escaping to the recently opened Havana Dee's Cigar Lounge. Named after one of the restaurant's co-founders, Dee Lincoln, the lounge features plush leather chairs, cable television, and waitress service with full bar access. There even is piano entertainment for your listening pleasure on weekends. Havana Dee's offers a limited, but spectacular, cigar list with many exclusive brands such as OpusX, Padron Anniversario, Ashton Cabinet Selection, and Partagas 150. Private lockers are available for rent. There may not be a finer overall combined dining and cigar smoking experience anywhere than the one offered by Del Frisco's and Havana Dee's. We definitely encourage you to visit this spot the next time you are in Dallas.
Restaurante Arzak
Restaurante Arzak
Alto de Miracruz,21
San Sebastian, Spain
The first thing that comes to mind when speaking about Juan Mari Arzak, 56, is that he is the "living history" of Spanish cuisine. Without question, Arzak is the best chef of Spanish, perhaps European, gastronomy during the past quarter century. The restaurant is located in San Sebastian, in the North Coast of the country near the French border, and has received 3 Michelin Stars since 1989. Arzak, with the increasingly important help of his daughter, Elena, specializes in traditional Basque cuisine and their signature dishes - which are made from the freshest ingredients and cooked to perfection - include prawns with rice noodles and foie mayonnaise; oven cooked bass with fried vegetables and virgin olive oil; and roast pigeon seasoned with coriander and cumin. For dessert, you must try the orange croquante with tarragon flavored pear sorbet. The house where the restaurant is located was built in 1897 with the purpose of being a wine cellar, a tavern, and a place to eat. Arzak features a wonderful wine selection and has one of the best cigar menu's in all of Spain. Special thanks to Rafael Bernardo for his recommendation and sharing his review of this magnificent restaurant with audience.
La Casa del Habano
La Casa del Habano
5th Avenue/Calle 16
Havana, Cuba
537 24 1185
Miramar is undoubtedly one of the nicest suburban sections of Havana and is filled with numerous mansions, foreign embassies, and beautiful landscaped streets and parks. It is also a place where one can escape the noise and crowds of Old Havana or Vedado and enjoy a peaceful setting in beautiful surroundings just 10-15 minutes away. We recently had the pleasure of visiting the newly opened La Casa del Habano and were extremely impressed with its ambience, size, and decor. The Cubans are correct when they state that their fine tobacco products and La Casa del Habano retail outlets require individual attention and are not easily replicated. Upon first entering the La Casa del Habano in Miramar, the visitor will immediately notice a well stocked and extremely large walk-in humidor that has most of your favorite Cuban brands. On our particular visit, there were plenty of Romeo y Julieta Churchills, Cohiba Siglo V, Punch Churchills, Juan Lopez Selecion #2, and Partagas Luisitania. For those of you wishing to sample a wide selection of cigars without purchasing an entire box, there is a wonderful lounge area where you can sit or there is a nice bar where a cup of Cuban coffee or rum may be purchased to complement your smoking experience. There even is a separate conference room with fax machine for business people as well as a humidified locker storage area for those interested in these services. As if this were not enough, there is a wonderful, adjoining restaurant called El Ranchon that serves excellent Cuban Cuisine at surprisingly affordable prices. We highly recommend the seafood brochette featuring Lobster and Shrimp that comes with rice....the total cost for this lunch with a beer and Cuban coffee is only $15 - 20 USD. It is quite possible that the new La Casa del Habano in Miramar is the finest smoking establishment, not only in Havana, but perhaps in the world and we definitely encourage you to visit this place on your next trip.
2832 E. 6200 South
Salt Lake City, Utah
Located in the suburban section of Salt Lake City at the base of the majestic Wasatch Mountains is an impressive Northern Italian restaurant owned by former Utah Jazz center, Mark Eaton, called Tuscany. Guests are immediately impressed as they drive up to the grounds of this expansive establishment (in many ways, it reminded me of another Salt Lake City landmark restaurant, La Caille) and are greeted with an equally impressive interior decor. We were promptly escorted to our table where we ordered double cut pork chops--the signature dish of Tuscany--and complemented our selection with a bottle of Roccioli Pinot Noir. Tuscany has quite an extensive wine list that includes such favorite brands as Duckhorn, Opus One, and Caymus. The food was outstanding and we could not leave the table without sampling their "7 foot 2 Chocolate Cake" (in reference to Mark Eaton) which was served with vanilla bean gelato and chocolate syrup. At the conclusion of dinner we worked our way towards the cigar-friendly bar which maintains a well stocked humidor featuring an assortment of your favorite brands. Equally as nice was the ambience of the bar which includes a beautiful, recessed fireplace and comfortable seating. Whether you are visiting Salt Lake City on business or your next ski vacation (Tuscany is only a 20 minute drive from the Alta and Snowbird resorts) we highly recommend dropping in.
70 North Main Street
South Norwalk, CT
Owned by Mario Fontana and his wife, Pina Ferlisi, Habana is a most welcome entry to the Connecticut restaurant scene. The owners have created a mystery reminiscent of Cuba 10 years ago as well as today and 10 years from now. Signature dishes are black velvet bean soup with sour cream sofrito; ceviche shrimp, sea bass, calamari and little neck clams in a habanero and citrus marinade; steak chimmichurri, guava-glazed ribs; seafood paella with saffron rice. Outstanding is the Chilean sea bass with black bean risotto, mango wine sauce and fried banana. Profiterole filled with banana walnut praline and Habana banana with coconut and mango sorbet served with flamed rum are delicious. Habana was selected as a Best Bet, recently, because all the Cuban-inspired food doesn't get any more authentic than this. Reservations are suggested and all major credit cards are accepted. Habana is open for dinner daily and serves lunch on Friday. Most importantly, Habana is cigar-friendly and is definitely worth checking out.
La Casa del Tabaco
La Casa del Tabaco
1115 Revolucion Avenue
Tijuana, Mexico
One of the newest and classiest cigar lounges to open in 1998 is La Casa del Tabaco in Tijuana, Mexico.....yes, that's correct, Tijuana. A border town long known for its cheap liquor and fake Cuban Cigars has seen a sudden proliferation of well respected cigar shops--including La Casa del Habano and La Villa Tabaco--selling genuine Habanos during the past year. Walking into La Casa del Tabaco recently, we noticed a full service cigar shop featuring some of the finest cigars in the world, along with a full line of accessories, gifts, and espresso. Not only were the cigars genuine, but they are perfectly maintained in a computer-controlled, full Spanish cedar humidor and the presentation of the merchandise is second to none. On our visit, we noticed such hard to find beauties as H. Upmann Sir Winston Churchills, Cabinet Selection Bolivar Corona Gigantes, Partagas Series D # 4, Cohiba Robustos, and more. There is a wonderful espresso bar to compliment your cigar once you have completed your purchase and you can gaze at the beautiful artwork and replication of Cuban Cigar label paintings that adorn the walls. There are also a number of unique humidors, clothing and accessories available. Your hosts, David and Victor, are extremely knowledgeable and hospitable and have many years of experience in the business. Please feel free to visit our good friends on your next journey to Tijuana, or telephone them at 01152(66) 88-33-39.
Cuesta-Rey Cigar Bar
Cuesta-Rey Cigar Bar
Tropicana Field
St. Petersburg, FL
One of the most unique cigar bar venues to open within recent months is the Cuesta-Rey Cigar Bar located inside Tropicana Field. America's two favorite pastimes--cigars and baseball--are together at last. Major League Baseball's new expansion team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, has teamed up with America's oldest family-owned cigar company, J.C. Newman Cigar Company, opening the first cigar bar in a major league baseball stadium. Finally, baseball fans can draw on a fine premium cigar, relax in an over-sized leather chair, and enjoy the excitement of a baseball game outside of their own living room. The Cuesta-Rey Cigar Bar seats over 70 people in a 1,500 square foot area providing an atmosphere of both fun and relaxation for every sport enthusiast. In addition to offering America's most sought-after cigars including the Fuente Fuente OpusX, Hemingway, Diamond Crown, and La Unica brands, there even is a special Cuesta Rey Devil Ray Cigar sold exclusively at Tropicana Field. This cigar is 100% handmade in the Dominican republic with a Connecticut shade wrapper, Dominican binder and filler, and has a delectable aroma and taste. In fact, the Cuesta-Rey Cigar Bar is operated and managed by one of Florida's leading retailers and the one of the nation's premiere mail order suppliers, Central Cigars (be sure to visit their other 2 outlets in nearby St. Petersburg).  Whether you are a baseball fan or not, we certainly encourage you to check this place out.
Arnaud's Cigar Bar
Arnaud's Cigar Bar
813 Rue Bienville
New Orleans, LA
There are many folks, including myself, who will dispute San Francisco's claim as being THE restaurant city within the United States. Some may vote for New York...but I'll take New Orleans. Throw in the non-stop partying atmosphere and year-round entertainment, and this is one city that is hard to beat. Within New Orleans, ask people what their favorite restaurants are and Arnaud's will consistently be at the top of most--if not all--of these lists. Arnaud's is world famous for its outstanding Creole cuisine, which features fresh seafood and local produce along with an impressive wine cellar. Even better is the fact proprietor Archie Casbarian opened Arnaud's Cigar Bar, located in a separate section of the restaurant across the corridor from the main dining room. Arnaud's Cigar Bar features a powerful, state-of-the-art air filtration system that removes excessive smoke as well as a superb selection of very fine cognacs, ports, old bourbons, and single malt scotches. As for cigars, Archie boasts that he has traveled to the world's finest tobacco sources in Switzerland, France, London, South America, the Caribbean, Miami, and New York in order to supply his establishment with the world's finest and most unique products. Throw in the very classy and most comfortable surroundings, and the atmosphere and experience will be remembered for a long time to come. Whether you are visiting during Mardi Gras, or any other time of the year, we certainly encourage you to make Arnaud's a part of your itinerary.
850 (A Cigar Bar)
850 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco is undoubtedly one of the finest restaurant cities in the world. At the conclusion of a fine meal, there is nothing better than lighting up your favorite cigar and savoring the moment with a fine glass of port or cognac. With the recent enactment of the California indoor anti-smoking ban, it has become increasingly difficult to find a cigar bar where smokers can adjourn to...that is, until the opening in May, 1998 of 850. Conveniently located in between San Francisco's Financial District and North Beach (not to mention its proximity to some of the city's finest restaurants including Bix, mc2, and Cypress Club), 850 is styled after the traditional Cuban cigar bar and features a nice full service bar, humidor, pool table, and outside courtyard patio where smokers can enjoy their favorite cigar on those warm summer nights. There is usually some nice pre-recorded jazz playing in the background and 850 also offers a limited dinner menu. You may purchase a cigar from their selction or feel free to bring your own. Hours of operation are from 4:00 PM to closing, Tuesday thru Saturday. Definitely worth checking out on your next visit to the city.
Churchill Cigar Bar
Churchill Cigar Bar
Brown Palace Hotel
Denver, CO
On a recent trip to Denver, Colorado I had the privilege of visiting the luxurious and elegant Brown Palace Hotel, a century old institution that has hosted a number of Presidents, celebrities, and dignitaries. Upon entering the hotel, visitors have the opportunity to view the unique atrium lobby where afternoon tea has become a daily ritual. Equally classy is the Churchill Cigar Bar, where the hotel has set aside a room for sophisticated aficionados to sample their favorite cigars in an olde English setting, complete with full beverage service and richly appointed leather chairs. The staff is very courteous and eager to satisfy your smoking needs. Although a bit pricey, Churchill Cigar Bar does offer a very extensive cigar selection including hard-to-find Arturo Fuentes, Ashton's, and even Pre-Castro Cubans. Well-heeled aficionados (unfortunately, I am not one of them) can sample a 1954 Pre-Castro Dunhill Robusto for a few hundred dollars a stick. Equally impressive is their cocktail selection. Nevertheless, whether you purchase a cigar here or bring your own, Churchill Cigar Bar is definitely worth visiting on your next business trip (even better if you can expense it) or vacation. It's the perfect place to conduct business or relax with a few friends before adjourning to the atrium or many of Denver's nearby attractions.

The Conga Room
The Conga Room
5364 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA
For many years, Southern California has been billed as being bland and not taking advantage of the cultural diversity that it is blessed with...not anymore. We had the pleasant experience of visiting The Conga Room in early June, which features fine, eclectic Latin cuisine, top-notch Latin entertainment, beautiful and friendly people, and a very comfortable cigar bar. The Conga Room is the braintrust of real estate developer Brad Gluckstein and is backed by some celebrity heavyweights, including Jimmy Smits, comedian Paul Rodriguez, baseball star Bobby Bonilla, and the beautiful and luscious actress, Jennifer Lopez. Every room is impeccably designed and there is a comfortable and unique ambience felt thoughout. We had the privilege of sampling an assortment of appetizers, including coconut shrimp, and enjoyed a couple of traditional Cuban drinks--the Mojito and Cuba Libre. Following dinner, we adjorned to the Cigar Bar which features nice, soft velvet chairs and beautiful artwork. They have a limited selection of cigars for sale and/or you have the option of bringing your own. After making a number of new friends, we went over to the stage area (separate cover charge) to see the famed Cuban band, Bamboleo. The sound system is superb, the layout of the room is perfect (stage up front, with a huge bar area in the back), and the customers seemed to get into the flow of the concert with everyone having a great time...(Southern California's are noted for being pretentious and having an 'attitude', but none of that was evident at The Conga Room, as there was a good mix of people and socializing taking place). The Conga Room is located in The Miracle Mile District of Los Angeles, about 10 minutes west of downtown and about 10 minutes east of Beverly Hills. We highly recommend visiting this spot if your travels take you in this area and please note a strict dress code (no jeans) is enforced. You may also wish to brush up on your salsa and merengue!!

Tobacconists and Cigar Merchants
James Barber Tobacconists and Cigar Merchants
West Yorkshire, England
+44 (0) 1943-462603
England is recognized around the world for having some of the world's leading cigar merchants and for a very knowledgeable and discriminating customer base, resulting in the creation of the famed English Market Selection. Located in the North of England is James Barber Tobacconists, a business that was founded back in 1867 and is going on its fourth generation. James Barber owns and manages the business himself and has been in the business since 1980. In 1994, James was elected as the youngest ever Chairman of the Association of Independent Tobacco Specialists, which is the United Kingdom's national tobacco governing body. Walking inside their spacious humidor, connoisseurs will find many of their favorite brands in stock including such hard to find cigars as Montecristo 'A', Bolivar Belicoso Finos, Partagas Lusitanias, Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas, Sancho Panza Sanchos, Saint Luis Rey Serie A, and Punch Punch, among others. James has had the opportunity to travel to, both, the Dominican Republic and Cuba and is probably the largest retailer of handmade cigars outside London. If you do not live in the United Kingdom and wish to sample some of the cigars mentioned above...not a problem. James Barber Tobacconists specializes in mail order and can usually have your cigars fresh to you within 2 days.

Churchill's Fine Cigars
Churchill's Fine Cigars
Naples, CA
One phrase sums up the smoking experience at Churchill's Fine Cigars in Naples (Long Beach area), CA...."Yeah, baby." These are the famous words customers are greeted with upon entering Churchill's and these are the famous words often uttered by customers as they leave this establishment. More than just a cigar shop, Churchill's is a smoking sanctuary that offers the same comforts you would expect from a world-class resort spa. Owners Michael, Tala, and Lisa Hirschberg are near fanatical in their approach to customer service which often includes a complimentary beverage with your cigar purchase. In addition to a well-stocked, walk-in humidor which features many hard to find brands such as Fuente and Padron, patrons can enjoy a cup of coffee or cappucino, get their shoes shined by Rodrigo (a.k.a. Senor Jefe), watch sporting events on their two color televisions, surf the internet, or simply browse through an extensive magazine selection in a reclining barber shop chair. When special events, such as the Super Bowl, come around the Hirschberg family steps it up a notch and spoils their guests with catered BBQ and other delicasies. No wonder the Long Beach Press Telegram selected Churchill's as its top cigar shop for 1997. Attention residents....if the sounds of "Yeah, baby" fill the air during the evening hours and you are tempted to call the police department, don't bother....chances are they're at Churchill's enjoying themselves and chanting this all too familiar phrase (and deservedly so).

The Cuba Club
Miami Beach, FL Phone 305-604-9798
I had the privilege of being invited to The Cuba Club on my last visit to Florida in January, 1997. Located inside one of the premiere restaurants in all of Florida, The Forge, one is immediately impressed the second they walk through the "speakeasy" front door. A huge, see-through walk-in humidor--containing private lockers (among their members are Sylvester Stallone, Madonna, Marvin Shanken) is the first thing you notice. Step to the right and you are greeted with plush leather chairs and big screen TV's. The evening I was present, The Cuba Club was dedicating a back room to the Fuente OpusX brand of cigars that they are carrying. This is an excellent place to relax with friends or entertain business associates. In addition to a full-service bar area and lovely hostesses, there are antique pool tables for your enjoyment. Hot tip: Wednesday evening seems to be THE night at this place; get there about 8:00 PM and enjoy a cigar and cocktail and then head next door to The Forge which attracts super models and others in their impressive surroundings. The party usually begins at 10:00 PM and lasts until closing. The Cuba Club does not have a web site as of yet--but I'm still knocking on the door.

Club Macanudo

Club Macanudo
New York City, NY Phone 212-752-8200

Considered to be one of the nation's first true 'cigar bars and the product of General Cigar Company (manufacturers of Macanudo, Partagas, Temple Hall, and other leading brands), Club Macanudo is an elegant retreat set aside in mid town Manhattan. Walking through the main entrance, guests are cordially greeted by a hostess, or two, and then ushered into one of a few main rooms. The major focal point of Club Macanudo is the main bar. A glass of port or martini make the perfect accompaniment for your choice of cigars that are brought to you on silver trays by a very knowledgeable staff. Private lockers, a wide array of cigar accessories, and a light snack menu await the guests. (If you prefer a full meal, the award-winning Post House restaurant is located just a few doors down the street). For more information, you can visit Club Macanudo on the web.

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