This past week, I took a short weekend trip up to Nashville, TN to visit with my family. My last day, everyone was back in school and at work, so I arranged to spend the time I had between waking up and heading to the airport, to meet with Charles Stansbury, my good friend and BOTL. Charles lives in the Nashville area and he was kind enough to pick me up at my daughters house and take me to the airport, but not before we headed into Nashville for a little cigar herf.
On the drive in, we discussed a number of lounges, most of which I already visited, but one he rattled off – Primings Cigar Lounge and Bar – was one I had not been to. So off we went, and when we arrived, Charles noted the name had changed. It was now called – Bar: Cigar Especial. Well, since he has not been to it since the name changed and I have not ever been there, this would be a new experience for both of us.
Bar: Cigar Especial is located in what is known as the SoBro neighborhood of Nashville, TN which translates to South of Broadway. According to visitmusiccity.com:
“Unlike its neighbor North of Broadway up the hill, this area is known for all things new – the city’s sprawling convention center, live music venues, major hotel brands, boutique properties, restaurants, bars, and even the just under 15-year-old Schermerhorn Symphony Center designed to look like it’s been there for decades.”https://www.visitmusiccity.com/explore-nashville/neighborhoods/sobro
The actual address of Bar: Cigar Especial is: 701 4th Ave S – Nashville, TN 37210 on the corner of 4th and Elm.
The lounge is housed in a 3 story red brick building. As you approach the building from 4th Street S. the entrance is through a grey door on the right side of the building. There is a dedicated parking lot for patrons, just a few yards down the street. Between the parking lot and the building there is an outdoor patio that looks to be a comfortable seating area with a wooden deck and a cigar leaf created with the deck wood in the center.
Entering the Lounge
Charles and I entered the lounge around noontime, so we did not expect to see too many patrons on a Monday early afternoon. However, we were greeted by the new owner, Anthony (Tony) Block, who was operating as “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” that day. With all his early Monday duties of ordering inventory, he took the time to give us a the grand tour of his fine establishment.
Tony is a Chicago native and experienced businessman who has operated businesses around the world. He is also an avid horse racing fan and you will usually see daily races on one the many flat screen TV’s in the lounge. Tony explained to us that ‘his incarnation’ of the lounge has been operating since January of 2020, just a few months shy of 1 year. He pointed out that one of the first things he did was work on the ventilation, and based on my experience he did a great job. There are numerous smoke eaters on the main floor that have filters changed on a regular basis. There are also ceiling fans that help rise the smoke up along with a number of exhaust fans. All in all the lounge area was virtually smoke free and based on the design I would say it would be quite clean even on a busy evening.
The main floor has a plenty of seating areas that offer leather chairs and couches, tables, and ample ash trays to keep the area clean. Each seating area has a large flat screen TV for your viewing pleasure. Beyond the seating, there are two main attractions on the ground floor – the bar and the humidor.
The large “L” shaped bar is placed at the back of the lounge. It has a polished marble top and comfortable chairs that can seat 10 easily. Tony added USB ports under the bar for easy charging of electronic devices. The bar is well stocked with spirits including some rare and hard to find bourbons. Each drink is carefully measured and mixed to perfection. We were told that the bartenders are properly trained mixologists. I chose to have a little rum and Charles opted for some rare bourbon.
The next stop was the walk-in humidor, which is located on the other end of the main floor, under the second floor loft. Though not the largest I have been in, it is of ample size and showcases a fine selection of big box to boutique cigar brands. Bar: Cigar Especial is one of a few lounges, I have been to, that carry the full Byron Cigars line, including the famed Atabey cigar.
Tony also told me he is only one of two lounges in the US that have the La Aurora 1903 Edition/Preferidos No. 1 – Cameroon (6 x 58). These are not in the tubo packaging and though larger in format, they actually cost less than the (5 x 54) tubo variety. Oh by the way, I did not know these even existed.
Outside the humidor, there are two standing cabinets. One contains the Drew Estate ACID and Taback Especial lines, so that they do not mingle the aroma with the main humidor. The second cabinet features select CAO and Cohiba Brands.
Let’s Take a Walk Up Stairs
The next stop on the tour, was a short visit to the 2nd floor loft. This is a quaint and quiet seating area, that overlooks the lounge down stairs. This is a space that would be utilized by a group that wants a little more privacy than the main floor. The area comfortably seats 8, in high back leather arm chairs. The area is apportioned with a circular rug on a solid wood floor along with small tables with ashtrays next to, or between, each seat.
Private Members Only Lounge Area
The final stop was one more flight up to the top floor. This is where the Members only private lounge is. Membership cost is $800.00/year but it is well worth it if you live in the area. You get 24/7 access to the private lounge through a key pad door lock. The outside entrance to this area is on top of the steel staircase outside.
Membership includes your own private humidor locker and you have access to free coffee and soft drinks/mixers. There is a fully operational kitchen that Tony uses to offer some of the finest cooking for his regular events.
The members only lounge is sectioned off into multiple sitting rooms, each with a unique theme, down a long hallway that runs along the back of the building. There is, what I would call, a living room complete with fire place, a music city room that includes an acoustic guitar, and board room with a large conference table. Each room has at least one “Rabbit Air” smoke eater to keep the area clean. There are large flat screen TVs in each room also.
We did not walk out to the patio, but as you can see, it is well apportioned for enjoying cigars with friends. The patio includes a wooden deck along with outdoor aluminum furniture and umbrellas to shade you from the sun, on those warm Nashville days. Access to the patio is through the main floor of the lounge and also from the staircase leading to the members only section of the lounge.
Wrapping It Up
A lounge review would not be complete with mentioning a few other important aspects. First, the bathrooms. Tony runs his establishment like he would his own home. The bathroom was immaculate and he strives to keep it that way, even on the busiest of nights. Second is Wi-Fi, which Bar: Cigar Especial has and offers to patrons for free. Third is entertainment. Being situated in Music City, Tony opted not to have live entertainment in his lounge. He notes there are plenty of places to enjoy the best that Nashville has to offer and in fact there is a live music hall just across 4th Street S from the lounge. Instead of live music, he pipes in the likes of Sinatra, the Rat Pack, Tony Bennett, and others.
He wanted the vibe to be like an old cigar lounge where people can relax without a lot of loud music, enjoy craft cocktails and sip fine spirits, have conversation and puff away on premium cigars. He offers first class service to the most discerning consumer and prides himself in fitting your palate with memorable cigars.
I want to thank Tony for his wonderful hospitality during my visit and I thank Charles for being a great BOTL introducing me to the lounge and of course driving me to the airport. If you live in or are visiting the Nashville area, checkout Bar: Cigar Especial, I promise you won’t be disappointed, and if you visit, tell Tony – Boston Jimmie said hi.
Location, Hours, Contact Info
- Address: 701 4th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37210
- Telephone: (615) 915-2514
- FaceBook: @barcigarespecial
- Twitter: @bar_cigaresp
- Instagram: @barcigarespecial
- WebSite: www.barcigarespecial.com
Hours of Operation
- Sunday – Thursday: 11 am – 9 pm
- Friday – Saturday: 11 am – 12 am
- VIP members: 24/7 access