Nobody Smokes in L.A.: Last of the Cigar Bars

— by Caroline on Crack

flickr photo by likalika
“Cigars are the perfect complement to an elegant lifestyle” – George Sand

I don’t smoke and even if I did, I wouldn’t smoke cigars–so ’90s, so Ah-nold–but my friend, whose birthday is coming up, loves those big, fat smelly stogies and wants to celebrate old-gentlemen style. So she asked me to find an appropriate venue for her bday celebration where she can light up and sip a cocktail.

I thought it would be easy because I vaguely remember seeing the occasional cigar lounge around L.A. but just couldn’t remember where. However when I searched through my usual city guides, there weren’t many local cigar bars. Rather, they were in such far-off, exotic locales with wonderful names like Long Beach, Alhambra, and Pasadena. Apparently California’s ban on smoking in bars and restaurants required the adios of humidors and with it the pastime of lighting a stogie after a meal and/or with a drink.

Beverly Hills used to be a haven for cigar lounges but not much pops up on CitySearch now. However, after much scrounging, I was able to find the seemingly last of the red hot cigar bars for anyone interested in this sorta thing:

Buena Vista Cigar Club and Lounge: Founded by cigar-poster-boy George Hamilton in 1995 and bought by Rigo Fernandez in 2000, this lounge provides a full bar in a relaxing hunter’s cabin-esque setting. With Cuban music and TV screens of sporting events, you’ll be entertained while you sit back and enjoy your cocktail and cigar.

9715 S. Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, California 90210
(310) 273-8100

Conga Room VIP Cigar Lounge: This plush, intimate space in the 1950s Havana-themed Conga Room can be booked for small cocktail parties of up to 30 guests and offers premium cigars and brandies for good-life enjoyment.

5364 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90036
(323) 938-1696

The Grand Havana Room: The only way to get into this ultra exclusive smoking lair is to either already be a card-carrying member or be the guest of one. Membership is invitation only and is limited. Whatever! The Grand Havana Room’s membership roster apparently reads like a who’s who in Hollywood.

From Cigar Aficionado:

Once inside the elegantly furnished domed room, you may admire the vast, glass-walled walk-in humidor (with 340 private lockers rented to members, including Tony Danza, Mel Gibson, Joe Mantegna and Milton Berle), sip a cocktail at the bar, lounge in a leather-upholstered armchair or dine on an outdoor balcony.

301 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, California
(310) 446-4925

The Hideout: This newish bar on West Channel Road in Santa Monica is constantly surprising me. First it went straight, then it started having karaoke nights and now I see that it offers a cigar menu, which includes Davidoff and Montecristo cigars. However, last I remember, the smoking patio didn’t have chairs. Hopefully that’s changed with the appearance of the humidor.

112 W Channel Road
Santa Monica, California 90402
(310) 429-9920
Cross Street: Pacific Coast Highway

Schatzi on Main: And of course, an L.A. cigar bar list wouldn’t be complete without that famous stogie-toking politician/ex-action star’s contribution. Schatzi has a cigar-friendly outdoor bar and even hosts a cigar night every first Monday of the month, where for $85 you get dinner, wine with dinner and dessert, and two cigars, as well as a magic show and your shoes shined.

3110 Main Street
Santa Monica, California 90405
(310) 399-4800
Cross Street: Marine Street