Behind the Smokescreen

South County cigar lounges preserve an age-old pastime

Posted

Cigars are one of those old-school pleasures, the last vestige of a carefree era. Cigars are macho but unpretentious, hand-crafted yet affordable. There’s nothing as satisfying as chopping off a tip. Blowing rings is the ultimate party trick. Cigars are symbols of celebration and joie de vivre – or it’s just an excuse to hang out. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.

South County is home to several cigar lounges, the kind of comfortable, ventilated social settings that enthusiasts love. Each offers a unique environment, merchandise, and membership program. For a true cigarista, they’re all worth a gander.

 

CIGAR BOX

The Cigar Box has sold stogies for years, and owner Bob Lauro has traveled across Latin America to research his product. The shop is now located in Mariner Square, and the cozy space has armchairs and a wall-mounted TV. The Cigar Box doesn’t have much of an online presence – and so much the better, because it’s far more rewarding to visit in person, describe what you want, and spend an hour or two taking in the atmosphere.

 

VINTAGE CIGAR LOUNGE & CLUB

The Westerly location of Vintage Cigar may be the lap of luxury: The lounge measures 2,000 square feet, and there’s a full bar. Built into an attractive stone building, Vintage looks like a Roaring Twenties movie set, and the interior is voluminous. The walk-in humidor offers around 400 varieties, and there’s even a fireplace room for puffing by the hearth. Any aficionado will tell you that cigars are best paired with spirits, and the combinations are nearly infinite. But there’s more: Vintage Cigar recently opened a second location on Charlestown Beach Road – equally huge and hospitable, with a deck for warm weather. 

 

RICHMOND SMOKE

Not every cigar lounge has its own fire pit. Or hookahs. Or horseshoe games. This is part of the reason Richmond Smoke is a destination unto itself, and worth frequenting all afternoon. Many of Richmond Smoke’s amenities, such as the outdoor bar, are best enjoyed in the warmer months, but you can still browse a wide range of cigars, sample shisha flavors, and grab a drink or two. Richmond’s rustic setting and out-of-the-way location make it especially popular among bikers and sportsmen. 

 

HILL & HARBOR CIGAR LOUNGE

Firmly planted in the middle of the East Greenwich dining district, Hill & Harbor is a great place to spend the evening or punctuate a more expansive night out. Under the same ownership as Richmond Smoke, Hill & Harbor boasts a cultivated atmosphere and tasty selection of spirits. There’s also a patio in the back, a safe distance from Main Street foot traffic. 

 

REGENCY CIGAR EMPORIUM

The website for Regency Cigar is a virtual catalogue of cigar products, from elegant boxes to cutters and humidor systems, and you can order anything you want without leaving the comfort of your den. But Regency also hosts its own lounge in East Greenwich, where you can share conversation and find ultra-rare brands from around the world.