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Commentary: Cigar Havens Offer Refuge from Smoking-Hostile World

17 Sep 2013

With new challenges come new opportunities. When it comes to cigars and finding a place to comfortably enjoy a premium cigar, that saying certainly is true.

no-smokingSmoking bans across the country have booted smokers out of restaurants, bars, and other places that wanted their business. Unpleasant weather, and creeping outdoor bans, compound the problem. The spread of bans means in many places you can only smoke in specialized cigar establishments. And eager business owners are seeking to welcome in cigar smokers.

Cigar shops are adding lounge areas to accommodate cigar smoking customers who have limited options. But cigar shops are often limited in their ability to sell anything other than cigars; food and drink sales are generally prohibited.

Increasingly, it seems, luxurious specialized cigar establishments that combine food, drink, and cigars are seeking to fill the void.

Some, like the Grand Havana Club in DC and Beverly Hills, Club Macanudo in New York, and Shelly’s Backroom in DC have been around for a while. Others like Ashton Lounge in Philadelphia, Civil Cigar in DC, and CXIII Rex in Alexandria, Virginia, are relatively new.

Some are membership-only, others invite the public in if they’re wiling to pay a premium for their offerings. The result is a number of fine establishments in which one can, for a price, smoke a cigar in an exquisite setting.

But the trend has some downsides.

Go to most cigar shops and you’ll find a wide range of people: blue collar workers, civil servants, small business owners, retirees, college students, master of finance-types. Which makes sense when you consider that cigar smoking is an incredibly affordable luxury. Five dollars can provide an enjoyable, casual, relaxed hour.

The appreciation of cigars promotes common ground among people whose paths would never cross outsides a cigar shop. Anti-smokers like to portray cigar smokers as the ultra-rich elite, lighting cigars with dollar bills in wood-paneled rooms, but it simply isn’t true.

Which is why it’s ironic that anti-cigar bans are forcing cigar smokers into smoke-filled, wood-paneled rooms where the entrance requires an exclusive membership, or at least the willingness to spend more than a blue-collar hourly wage.

In other words, to the extent cigar smoking is still viewed as an elitist activity, it’s the fault of the anti-smokers rather than cigar smokers.

Patrick S

photo credit: Flickr

One Response to “Commentary: Cigar Havens Offer Refuge from Smoking-Hostile World”

  1. Timothy Black Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    Well said.