Since the restaurant and bar smoking ban took effect in 2003, it has been illegal to open new cigar bars. But here’s the catch – those that already existed before the ban are allowed to remain open, and new cigar stores are still allowed to open. You don’t have to be a cigar-lover, though, to enjoy these spots. Here are our picks for the top 5 spots in NYC to enjoy a cocktail and a stogie. – By Jonathan Pogash
The Carnegie Club
The Carnegie Club, nestled behind Carnegie Hall on 56th St., not only offers quality cigars, but they have a list of creative cocktails, as well (full disclosure: author consults here). You can also try any one of their top shelf brown spirits along with your cigar. On Saturday nights you can enjoy one of the world’s best Frank Sinatra shows, performed by Steve Maglio and the Stan Rubin Orchestra.
Bar & Books (Hudson)
With three bar locations across Manhattan, the Bar & Books group offers a cigar and cocktail for every taste. You can visit them on Hudson St., Lexington Ave., or Beekman (1st Ave). Grab Ian Fleming’s favorite, the Vesper, or a whiskey tasting flight, along with a Cohiba black, and puff the night away.
Club Macanudo on 63rd St. has a lovely selection of fine cigars and spirits. You’ll want to make sure to reserve your table for dinner, as well. With entrees like Peppercorn-Crusted Filet Mignon and Coconut Shrimp, you’ll soon see why this spot is for the cigar aficionado and foodie alike.
Grand Havana Room
The Grand Havana Room has what any private cigar club should have: state-of-the-art humidors (650 of them), private rooms, live music in the Grand Lounge, and, of course, an extensive selection of cigars. You’ll rest assured that excess smoke won’t be an issue, as the club has a modern ventilation system. How do you join? Email them for more information, but do know that membership is limited.
The Cigar Inn doesn’t actually serve alcohol, but members are allowed to bring their own. Not only can you buy premium cigars and sip on a glass of wine you’ve brought in yourself, but you can also peruse the store and gaze at their selection of cufflinks, money clips, and pens. This spot truly is a cigar lover’s paradise.
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Jonathan Pogash, aka The Cocktail Guru, is a beverage consultant, writer, and educator.