Cigars have a bad reputation. Just Google "cigars FDA" and you'll see that they're being grouped with e-cigarettes in an attempt to stop underage smoking. Ignore the fact that cigars are probably less appealing to minors than even hookah.
But that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy them. A cigar lounge is a place to go for community, relaxation and letting time slow down while you puff on a claro or panatela, or just a stogie, if you're on a tight budget.
We've put together a list of five must-visit lounges for the tobacco enthusiast. From a high-end steakhouse to a small family-owned joint, these are our picks for places to unwind.
House of Cigars Factory
$8.50 to $60
10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
13901 Midway Road, Suite 110, Farmers Branch
House of Cigars owner Willie Martinez, a third-generation Cuban cigar roller, says his store is more of a factory— the name should be a giveaway — than a traditional cigar shop. All his cigars are hand-rolled at the store with special blends Martinez creates himself.
From newer blends, like a holiday cigar with Peruvian leaves aged in a bourbon whiskey barrel, to signature blends Martinez has been producing for 15 years, every one of his products has a fan base.
“We basically introduced old-school back into the marketplace,” Martinez says. “Old-school as in back before the 1960s, when everyone made their reputation of their own blends.”
$5 and up
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
504 N. Bishop Ave.
Cigar Art belongs in Bishop Arts. The small-town-in-the-big-city vibe of the district is reflected in the shop, with jazz music, BYOB and “artisan” cigars. The store focuses more on custom, boutique and family-made cigars in a relaxed environment.
“We had the idea of a space we would want to hang out in and have a cigar, so that’s what we created,” co-owner Kelsey Cavazos says. “It’s a place where you can come, have a drink and just hang.”
$3 and up
9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
4560 W. Mockingbird Lane
The front of Blue Smoke may look like just another tobacco shop, but the back room is what makes it different. Customers who spend $20 or more can go to the back lounge and watch TV, read or socialize with other cigar enthusiasts while they smoke.
Brandon Mahan, 40, of Dallas, is a regular at Blue Smoke because of the back room and selection of cigars — two humidors full, one for high-end cigars and one for more common options.
“This is my home now,” Mahan says. “It’s great with the community. You know everyone, so it’s the perfect place to spend an hour or two hours or all day, just hanging out and slowing down.”
For those who don’t spend $20, access to the back room is $10. Most people just buy another cigar.
Blue Smoke also offers humidor lockers for $365 for the first year and $292 after the first year. Locker owners get free access to the back room and a 20 percent discount on cigars.
Cigar Lounge at Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House
$18 to $80
4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to midnight Saturday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday
5330 Belt Line Road
For those with a taste for the finer things, Chamberlain’s is a Dallas staple. You can grab a nice (and expensive) cigar to go with your steak. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel classy, even if you usually aren’t.
“This is one of the only places in Dallas that you can get a nice steak and a great cigar and maybe a glass of wine or scotch, all in the same sitting,” manager Robert Lawrence says.
Food in the lounge ranges from $6 for some smoked and spiced almonds to $18 for a child colossal crab meat dish.
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Elite Cigar Café
9 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
4291 Belt Line Road, Addison
$4 to $40
If you want food with your cigar, but you don’t want to spend the Chamberlain kind of money, Elite Cigar Café has a more laid-back environment built around community. Food ranges from $6 to $12.
“We have a lot of regulars that come in. Everyone who comes in is real friendly and always trying to make friends,” humidor manager James Taylor says. “You’ll always feel welcome. And with the bar and café and everything, you really get that home feel.”
The shop is known for its wide range of cigars, including Dominican, Nicaraguan and Brazilian, as well as boutique brands.