Whether traveling for business or pleasure, you’re never far from home or a premium cigar, if you can find a good cigar lounge. Practicing good cigar lounge etiquette is essential, regardless of where your travels lead you. Here are some tips to consider when taking cigar life on the road.
How to Choose a Cigar Lounge
Smoking restrictions will vary depending on where you are in the country or the world. Some cities allow smoking in restaurants and bars, and others restrict it to designated smoking lounges or private clubs. But if you’re traveling for business or on vacation looking to relax, avoid some of the flashier settings. Consider the size and what a place offers. Restaurants and bars that allow smokers might attract larger and rowdier crowds.
If you’re simply looking for a place to have a stick and sip on your favorite cocktail, traditional cigar lounges and local shops remain the best option. Since they are typically filled with paying members who are aficionados themselves, they are often the most welcoming.
There are apps out there to help you find smoke-friendly venues and Reddit and Facebook groups can provide information, but sometimes the best resource is your hotel concierge or simply asking a local. Asking a local can also help you avoid the trendy places you wouldn’t visit when you’re in your hometown.
Cigar Lounge Etiquette Rules Differ
Each lounge has its own policies. Some lounges will allow you to bring your own sticks, while others prefer you purchase a cigar on site. But conventional (cigar) wisdom says if you’re patronizing a store, it’s best to make a purchase. Don’t presume that because you’ve purchased a cigar, you can kick back and smoke for free. Since many lounges have paying members, some may charge a small smoking fee.
The same etiquette applies to booze. Some lounges and cigar clubs have fully stocked bars and serve alcohol, and others are B.Y.O.B. Phone ahead to find out store policies rather than showing up with your own bottle of bourbon.
Assume nothing. Be polite and simply ask. And don’t haggle the owner over policies and prices. Cigar life is about camaraderie and enjoyment. Most places graciously welcome tourists. Lounges, especially independently owned smaller shops, may even waive the smoking fee for travelers.
Each Lounge Has Distinct Atmospheres
Whether you’re in New York, Rome, or smaller cities across the country, every cigar lounge will have its own unique atmosphere.
When you sit down as a guest at a cigar lounge, read the room how Tom Brady or Peyton Manning would read a defense. Cigar life is about leisure and the satisfaction of a great smoke. If guys are settling in for the big game or watching the local news, when in Rome do as the Romans do. Don’t change the channel. Also, sometimes cigars are best savored in silence, so take your phone calls outside.
Smoking is a small exclusive community, but cigar smokers are not exclusive. Know cigar lounge etiquette. Respecting the regulars goes a long way to being welcomed as one of their own. There’s nothing wrong with making conversation. So share a drink. Talk cigars, football, baseball, maybe some business, but keep politics and religion out of it. Remember, local lounge members are there for the same reason you are: to enjoy a premium cigar.
Photo credit: Cigar Life Guy