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Best places to smoke cigars

Timothy R. Smith  |  Updated 09/20/2011

With strict smoking laws in the area, it can be tough to find a place to have a stogie and a drink.


Morton's, The Steakhouse

Washington, DC

This restaurant has a heated outdoor deck that overlooks Connecticut Avenue. The cigar selection is limited but includes the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story and the Ashton VSG Sorcerer, cigar standards. Nearly half of the menu is composed of Paul Garmirians (a line of mild Dominican cigars from a Northern Virginia tobacconist). Most smokers bring their own sticks. The bar has an excellent cognac selection, including a $195 glass of the rare Remy Martin Louis XIII.


Ozio Restaurant & Lounge

Washington, DC

Ozio is a D.C. standard. While things can get crowded on weekends, during the week it is a subdued establishment, with jazz and soft rock pouring over the sound system. Handpainted portraits of lumunaries, such as Humphrey Bogart, Sophia Loren and Winston Churchill (of course!), adorn the clay-hued walls and lend extra personality. The walk-in humidor includes Camacho Connecticuts and Padron Anniversaries.


Shelly's Back Room

Washington, DC

In D.C. cigar circles, Shelly's is a legend. Its sterling cigar collection includes more than 80 varieties, and the bar offers more than 50 Scotches. The downside with Shelly's, though, is that everyone knows it. Around 9 p.m. it can get crowded and so loud that conversation is difficult. But at 6 on any night, it is a pleasant place to read, chat or enjoy a decent smoke in quietude.


Basin Street Lounge

Alexandria, VA

On the second floor of this Old Town Alexandria French restaurant is a spacious lounge that has the feel of an 18th-century Parisian salon. Five nights a week (Mondays and Wednesdays through Saturdays) local bands play jazz or blues. With 10 cigars on the menu, the selection is tiny but includes the Padron 1926 Anniversary No. 6 and the Jaime Garcia My Father, among the most solid smokes on the U.S. market today. Next door to the restaurant is the Scottish Merchant, a cigar shop. Outside smokes are acceptable.


Bayou Room

Alexandria, VA

In addition to the Basin Street Lounge, Two Nineteen Restaurant has a bar in the basement. With a brick interior, wood stools and business cards tacked to every pinnable surface, it has the charm of a Bourbon Street hole in the wall. The beer selection is limited and the bar has no humidor, but cigars can be purchased upstairs or at the smoke shop next door.


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