Buena Vista Cigar Club: Smokers' Paradise

— by Caroline on Crack

Lighting up

So last night was the big birthday party at the cigar bar and, boy, do I feel like shit this morning. I wish I could run some warm soapy water over my lungs and brush off that fine layer of soot coating them. Ack! But my friend was happy. She got to do what she wanted on her birthday: be Archie Bunker.

About eight of us took over the upstairs lounge of the Buena Vista Cigar Club. Decorated like a hunting lodge with mismatched sofas, old framed pictures and, of course, the requisite deer head on the wall, this Beverly Hills bar brings you back to those days before 1998 when smoking was still legal in bars. Personally, I don’t miss those days and last night reminded me why. Although Buena Vista is well-ventilated for the most part, sitting upstairs with a bunch of puff daddies and mommies didn’t help my nonsmoking cause.

The last time I was here, I had gone with Bernadette to scout out a location for her party. It was just the two of us and she was the only one smoking so it was bearable. The owner, Rigo, was also very personable and even introduced us to a couple of his regulars. One man even invited Bernadette to be his guest at the members-only Grand Havana Room.

Puff Mommy
    Last night there were even more regulars, this time taking up a table for their weekly game of poker. A box of uneaten pizza waited patiently on a nearby table. A basketball game was playing on all the TV monitors hanging above. And thick cigar smoke swirled around in the air. Meanwhile, Bernadette asked Rigo if he could put on the Sinatra CD she just got for her birthday. He obliged.

That’s when I left. After sitting for about half an hour, my eyes and lungs couldn’t take it anymore. But I wished Bern a happy bday. She settled into the plush old couch with her other friends as they continued their conversation about their cigars and which made the best smoke.

The things I did like about Buena Vista Cigar Club were the friendliness of its regulars and especially its owner, the fact that you can order takeout and eat it there, the full bar (moderately priced), its unassuming nature in a very status-conscious hood and the tons of free parking right behind it. But cigar aficionados will appreciate it a lot more than I did. There’s, of course, a humidor encased in glass at the rear of the lounge from which they can choose a stogie. And Rigo is usually on hand to offer any assistance or suggestions.

9715 Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, California 90210
(310) 273-8100
Cross Street: Roxbury