I travel with my job and I look forward to visiting new cigar lounges wherever I may be. It is always interesting to see the different lounges in the various cities. I guess I have gotten a little spoiled from living in Atlanta because I think that we have so many options when it comes to cigar lounges. Depending on where I am, I usually ask the locals for suggestions but many times I google for lounges close to where I will be staying or in the general area.
There are 3 main things that appeal to me when I’m selecting a cigar lounge to enjoy my smoke – the location, the selection, and the ambience.
I travel to mostly larger to metropolitan cities so I usually am lucky enough to run across several lounges to choose from. However, I visit smaller, rural cities from time to time and I may be lucky enough to come across a cigar lounge in those smaller cities. I must say that my experience in the smaller areas have been nothing short of a great time. The personal service I receive is just that – personal, because the crowds are smaller and the staff does pretty good with paying attention to detail and providing extensive info on the lounge. I feel right at home and I enjoy meeting the regulars and the locals who not only provide info on the lounge but they are pretty knowledgeable about offering info on the area; what to see, what to do, where to eat, etc. One downside to this type of lounge is that I notice that they may have limited hours of business and often don’t stay open late into the evening. On the other hand, the lounges in the metro areas usually are open longer hours. Depending on the location, the vibe will be different for urban locations vs. suburban locations as well as for the standalone lounges vs. those that may be a part of a strip mall. I find that it is important to know the smoking laws that may exist in many cities. There are bans in some cities which prohibit smoking on rooftops and other places. Although these rooftops may not necessarily be a cigar lounge per se, I enjoy them during the warmer weather season and I often ask in advance about any bans or laws.
Selection of cigars vary from lounge to lounge. I have visited larger lounges where the selection was not as extensive and smaller ones where the humidor was full of excellent choices and well stocked. I usually bring my own selection with me whenever I travel but I like to support the humidors of the lounges I visit – after all, this is usually the source of their income. I often ask for their top sellers in the lounge so I can see what is popular with others and to extend my palate as well. Also, I make it a habit now to ask if there are any specials that they may have; I have often missed out on close out deals and newer ones being introduced.
My preference varies and depending on my mood, I may visit different lounges. This works for me because I get to experience different ‘vibes’ that each lounge may offer. The traditional lounges that may have been around a while are always appealing because you get to appreciate the true ambience and relaxing environment they offer. Most of these may have a separate Members Only area and a different or general area for other guests. This type of lounge tends to cater to the traditional and more seasoned smoker who usually are regular patrons (some from years and years back) and I’ve noticed that these lounges carry the more well known cigar labels that have been around for some time. I can also get an excellent cocktail in this type of lounge and they usually have the traditional specialty drinks and extended selections of scotch, bourbon, and whiskey.
The sports bar type lounges are popular because they tend to offer a more casual vibe. They cater to the sports enthusiast and I find myself visiting this type of lounge when I want to enjoy a sports game with friends such as football and basketball.
Finally, the other type of lounge I have visited consists of a night club type environment. The vibe here tends to be very hyped and energetic and you often have a more younger crowd to visit this type of lounge. If you want to relax and enjoy your smoke in this environment, it can be a little challenging if there is an event and if it’s a huge crowd.
Regardless of the lounge, an adequate (and working) ventilation system is a must. I do recognize that I’m in a lounge environment but I do want to be comfortable and not choking or have burning eyes due to smoke that lingers. Unfortunately, I have visited lounges that were in great locations, had excellent selections with cigars and drinks but the lack of adequate ventilation was the deal breaker. I had to leave almost immediately. There was no way I could patronize a place and not be able to enjoy my smoke.
We all have various tastes when it comes to smoking and lounges. There are options but what is most important is that we can appreciate the way that this cigar lifestyle has evolved over the years and how lounges and cigar lounge owners are trying to appeal to cigar smokers. Maybe I’ll see YOU in a lounge soon!!