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Stogie News: PNC Park’s Montecristo Club Closes

21 Mar 2007

We’ve praised the Montecristo Club at PNC Park – the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates – in previous articles and even mentioned it in our proposal to the Washington Nationals for a cigar night at RFK stadium. That proposal was shot down by the Nationals promotions office despite the tens of thousands of empty seats most nights at RFK. Questionable decisions like these might explain management’s inability to put together a winning team.

PNC Park Montecristo ClubNow, with a draconian smoking ban in effect in Allegheny County, encompassing the city of Pittsburgh, the Montecristo Club is closing its doors for good as the entire stadium will be forced to go smoke free.

As Michael Moretti from Cigar Aficionado explains, the ballpark’s cigar club came about when a group of cigar smokers began enjoying their handmade tobacco treats while watching the Pirates play:

At first, Pittsburgh seemed like an ideal town for a ballpark cigar venue. Pennsylvania had no tobacco tax or statewide smoking ban, and the Pittsburgh area enjoyed strong cigar sales. The inspiration for the club came from a group of fans and back-office people who had started a tradition of gathering for cigars under the Southwest Flight Deck in left field.

Later, after the success of PNC cigar nights, where special smoke-friendly sections were set aside, the Pirates teamed with Altadis Cigars and Southern Wine & Spirits to create the Montecristo Club. Cigar lovers in Pittsburgh were then able to join fellow baseball fans in Tampa Bay’s Cuesta-Rey Cigar Bar and Detroit’s Comerica Park Camacho Cigar Bar in simultaneously enjoying two of America’s favorite past times: cigars and baseball.

Now the Montecristo Club is another casualty of the paternalistic smoking bans that are sweeping the country, and a perfect example of why these bans are so wrong.

Smoking bans are supposedly justified by protecting people from the harms of second hand smoke. Yet everyone (both patrons and staff) was perfectly aware that by entering the club they would be exposing themselves to cigar smoke. And clearly they were willing to take those risks (and even pay a pretty penny) for the chance to smoke a premium cigar while taking in a Pirates game.

But once again a smoking ban refuses to let adults make adult decisions, and so we are forced to mourn the loss of the Montecristo Club at PNC Park.

Patrick S

Tags: cigars

2 Responses to “Stogie News: PNC Park’s Montecristo Club Closes”

  1. Mac and Nudo Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at 5:16 am #

    I don't get it. So the Allegheny County smoking ban didn't include any sort of exemptions or grandfather clauses? What about the fact that the facility is a private club?

    Seems to me that a specialty cigar bar would qualify for one of those and would be able to stay in business.

  2. BenHurr Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at 1:17 pm #

    Such a shame. I was hoping to take in a game at the Montecristo Club this year.