Famous comedian and cigar lover Groucho Marx once said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.” Yet, with the complete benefits packages offered by either a public or private cigar lounge membership for the avid smoker, Groucho might have reconsidered.
Cigar Lounge Membership Benefits
For an annual fee, the best cigar lounges offer a relaxing environment for you to smoke in style. A key feature of most memberships is not paying “cutting fees” to smoke cigars (you can bring your own vs. buying from the humidor). Memberships solve the dilemma for retailers that need revenue but also understand many cigar smokers like to enjoy sticks purchased elsewhere. Climate-controlled private lockers allow you to safely store your daily cigars or the rare trophies saved for a special occasion. Lounges have a way of becoming a home away from home. Excellent ventilation systems make them an ideal place when it’s too cold to smoke in your backyard.
How to Enjoy the Cigar Lounge Lifestyle
True aficionados already have a home humidor to store their favorite smokes safely. A membership with a cigar locker means you can pop in and listen to some killer new music or watch a game without leaving a lingering stench in your improperly ventilated home. Ideally, stored cigars mean lighting up is easy, with no concern about dried-out or exploded tips. The lounge vibe is essential; you need to feel comfortable if you are the only person smoking or when the place is packed.
Cigar Lounge Membership Privileges
In addition to perfect storage, most lounges offer significant discounts on retail products, including hard-to-find cigars and new releases. Some clubs allow you to store a bottle of cognac or your spirit of choice for sipping or purchase a bottle of liquor at a discounted rate, depending on local regulations. Exclusive invitations to sold-out, cigar-friendly events always go to members first.
Cigar Lounge Friendships
One of the most significant reasons for membership is the ability to interact with other cigar lovers. There is no better way to broaden your smoking palate than by trading and sharing cigars with other members. Cigar smoking is a very social enterprise. Dying to try that new box-pressed cigar? Curious about that trendy European cigarillo? Share what’s in your locker.
What’s in it for the lounge?
Cigar lounge owners work hard to keep their members happy. Loyal members typically take advantage of retail discounts, which means the opportunity to expand product offerings to a target-rich audience. Membership fees also create a regular recurring revenue stream for owners and, at launch, can provide an owner with a nice short-term cash flow bump. Happy members invite new members. Nothing begets success like a packed club, and celebrity sightings are common. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, among others, have lockers in the high-end Grand Havana Room in Los Angeles.
Cigar Lounge Membership Cost
Much like a gym membership, you typically pay monthly. Most memberships are less than a thousand dollars yearly, with many under five hundred per year, but elite clubs may charge ten times that amount. The cost varies considerably based on local market demand and geography. Like the gym, it only makes sense if you use it. So, location is a crucial factor.
Is It Worth the Cost?
Deciding if a membership is worth the cost is an individual decision. For many, regular membership pays for itself in a few months, mainly when you visit regularly. If you want to bring your cigars (avoiding cut fees) or the establishment allows you to buy liquor at discounted rates, the savings represent one of the best deals a cigar smoker can find. Conversely, it might not be a good deal if you don’t think you’ll often go to the place, even if it is relatively inexpensive. You’d be financially ahead by paying full price when you visit. The best advice is to visit a few times and determine if you like the place and whether you could make it a second home before shelling out the membership fee. If you do, then visit often and enjoy!
Editors note: Membership features will vary significantly at every establishment, as will the costs and billing practices. In addition, some features, including alcohol, are unavailable in some areas due to local laws. This is meant to provide an overview of what typical memberships entail. Before joining, ensure you understand a cigar lounge membership’s costs, features, and rules.
Photo credit: Cigar Life Guy