A tightening of smoking restrictions in many towns has left little harbor for the connoisseur of both whisky and cigars—let alone those in search of an occasional “two-fer.” Unfortunately, many cigar bars offer a whisky list that is nothing to puff about, and often overpriced. The sublime mingling of a fine dram with the rich palate of a top-notch stick remains worth seeking out, however. Here, we’ve found five excellent places where you can enjoy a smoke with your whisky—and a pairing worth trying at each one.
Light Up and Drink Up: Great Whisky-Cigar Bars
The Occidental Cigar Club—San Francisco
Founded in 2001, this club doesn’t mince words. “If the aroma of fine tobacco products offends you, this is not an entrance,” declares a sign outside the front door. “There are a few good restaurants around the corner on Belden.” Inside, the proprietors match their boasts with a bravura collection of whiskies, from WhistlePig Boss Hog to local distillery Sonoma County. While city laws forbid smoking in establishments with paid employees, OCC’s owners banded together to create this safe haven for enthusiasts.
Drink this: Sonoma County Distilling Cherrywood Rye
Smoke this: Oliva Serie V Torpedo Maduro
Soho Cigar Bar—New York City
New York boasts its share of blue-chip cigar lounges: Lexington Bar and Books, Grand Havana Room, and Club Macanudo, to name a few. But for a more casual downtown experience with ample whisky, hit the Soho Cigar Bar. At Soho, you’ll find an artful main room where the flat screen TVs are covered by paintings to reduce the distraction when there’s no game worth watching. Instead, keep your head on a swivel as you enjoy a whisky selection including around 50 Scottish single malts, elder Irish whiskeys, and even some rare Japanese pours. You never know which celebrity will pop in next.
Drink this: Hibiki 21 year old
Smoke this: Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Principe
Red Phone Booth—Atlanta and Nashville
This cigar-friendly bar requires guests to dial up the front-of-house staff from a—you guessed it—red phone booth. Sure, the speakeasy concept is well-worn. We’re coming for the selection of over 180 whiskies, rare bourbons from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, and well-aged Japanese selections. In a nod to Prohibition, the house cigar, with a Brazilian Arapiraca Maduro wrapper, is dubbed the 18th Amendment.
Drink this: Weller 12 year old
Smoke this: Padron 1926 Serie #2 Natural (Cigar Aficionado 2017 #2 Cigar of the Year)
La Descarga—Los Angeles
While the city has no shortage of open-air, smoke-friendly joints, the old-school Havana vibe of this chic spot just east of Hollywood warrants a visit. Named after “discharging” or “unloading,” this L.A. bar invites visitors to leave it all on the floor, so long as you’re abiding by an upscale dress code—jackets encouraged, guys. Soaring ceilings, savory snacks, and the occasional brass band add to the gorgeous two-story-tall back bar. As a bonus, drink in the burlesque-style salsa dancers.
Drink this: Four Roses Single Barrel
Smoke this: No online list, pack your own!
Fox Cigar Bar—Scottsdale and Gilbert, Ariz.
The Gilbert location of this burgeoning empire boasts 400 selections, including more than 100 American whiskeys and 100 varieties of scotch. What’s more, a real-time beer board available on Untappd shows you exactly what’s on offer from the nearby craft breweries. Cruise through for a unique indoor/outdoor setup and a craft beer or whisky and watch the game from custom leather chairs on one of 34 TVs.
Drink this: WhistlePig Boss Hog (offerings vary)
Smoke this: Liga Privada No. 9 Robusto