It has been a fun year traveling through the country visiting lounges everywhere I went. When I think back on all the fine establishments that I visited I have to think about which was the best. We give awards to the top cigars of the year, so why not lounges too.
This year my travels took me to from Florida to New York, Pittsburgh, Charlotte NC, Detroit, St. Louis, and beyond. When rating a lounge I think of the story behind the lounges. I have to factor that in it because it explains the journey and perseverance of the owner to make the lounge successful. I also consider the cleanliness and comfort of the lounge in addition to how inclusive the patrons are. Of course, the list is based only on those I visited.
With that said, here are my top 5 cigar shops/lounges for 2018.
Number 1 – Tailored Smoke Cigar Lounge
The best lounge of 2018 that I’ve been in is Tailored Smoke Cigar Lounge In Charlotte, North Carolina. Owned by Preston Gray, this is a lounge was just an outside kiosk a short year and a half ago and has grown dramatically in that time period. That growth came from the service, atmosphere, and location that Preston offers his patrons. Not only can you enjoy a fine cigar from his wide selection of brands but you can also indulge in a full steak dinner and savor some fine wine while there. The private “members only” room is known to draw celebrities from various walks of life including some notable NBA names, as it is right outside the Charlotte Hornets Basketball Arena. You can read the Stogie Press review of the Tailored Smoke Cigar Lounge here.
Number 2 – Executive Cigar Shop and Lounge
Number two goes to my hometown lounge, the Executive Cigar Shop and Lounge in beautiful downtown Melbourne, Florida. This lounge is the culmination of a 16 year journey that started as a small shop across the street which then moved into a larger shop and now is a 4000 square-foot cigar emporium. The metamorphosis of the Executive Cigar Shop and Lounge is one any shop owner should take note of. Owner, Tony Nardone and his tobacco educated staff, have provided a very comfortable retreat for all those in the area with the largest selection of cigar brands east of Orlando. You can read our recent grand re-opening article on this lounge here.
Number 3 – Charles P. Stanley Cigar Company
A short one week visit to St. Louis, MO found me hanging out at the Charles P. Stanley Company cigar lounge in downtown. One visit to this lounge and you instantly become a fan. With a deep history going back to 1876 the current Charles P. Stanley is a lounge that takes you back in time. The old building it is housed in, would be enough to attract you to visit, but the owners and patrons just add to the moment with engaging and inclusive conversation. The bar is fully stocked and the humidor has some hard to find brands. Operated by members and friends of the Stanley family including, Marc Gwynn, Jacob Netemeyer, Patrick Stanley, Dave Fitzgibbons, Jaiden Sanford, and Doug Volling, they have kept things rolling and have carried the tradition of the Stanley family to offer the finest cigars and service. You can read our review of the Charles P. Stanley Company cigar lounge here.
Number 4 – Leaf & Bean Strip
Number four goes to the Leaf & Bean Strip – Coffee and Cigar Shop in the Strip District of Pittsburgh, PA. For those that know Island Jim Robinson – just walking into this shop you realize this could only be the creation of Jim’s mind. Sitting in the shop, sipping on an espresso, and enjoying a fine cigar, your eyes go into it visual overload of all the eclectic and decorative objects that hang from the walls, the ceiling, and stacked everywhere around you. The shop is small but the experience is well worth the visit. The humidor is not ginormous but it is well stocked with many boutique and big box brands including the full line of Island Jim Cigars like the Leaf by Oscar. Read our review of the Leaf & Bean Coffee and Cigar Shop here.
Number 5 – Conquistador Premium Cigar Parlor
Coming in at number five is the Conquistador Premium Cigar Parlor in Brooklyn New York. It is brand new and is the last lounge in the city of New York to receive a tobacco resale license. Beautifully built out, this two-story lounge offers it’s patrons a clean, modern, and comfortable place to get out of the cold and enjoy a fine cigar. The lounge was founded by three Belarus immigrants; Igor Shafron, Gene Treyvus, and Alex Galynski, who followed their dream to create a business of their own. Located just across the bridge from Coney Island, this establishment has all the makings of a lounge that will attract both old and new cigar smokers. It is conveniently located just 5 blocks from the Avenue U stop on the “Q” Train. You can read our review of this lounge here.
Maduro Cigars Lounge
Maduro Cigars Lounge is located in the heart of the Bronx, NY. The front of this lounge reminds me of an old English pub, but once you enter you know you are where you want to be. The lounge is the creation of Ramon, the owner and operator of the lounge. Ramon is a tall Dominican man, who was raised in NYC, and certainly knows cigars and what cigar men and women enjoy. The lounge is a pure testament to that. Prior to owning his lounge, which he opened in 2014, he worked in a cigar shop. His knowledge and experience just adds to the overall experience in his establishment. You can read our review here.
City Smoke Mobile Cigar Lounge
I will give one more honorable mention to the City Smoke Mobile Cigar Lounge, based out of Detroit Michigan. As I wrote in the article on this exquisite experience, City Smoke Mobile Cigar Lounge is second to none for when you want to travel around with friends, smoke cigars, party, and not have to worry about driving. Everywhere this mobile cigar lounge stops, it draws the attention of brothers and sisters of the leaf who are curious and want to partake in the fun. Check out our review here.
If you have a favorite cigar shop/lounge that you would like to mention, please comment on this article. Maybe I will visit during my travels. remember you can always read about the shops I visit by clicking on the Cigar Lounges menu item.
Stay smokey everyone and lets enjoy 2019 and all it has to offer in the premium cigar world.