The Owl Shop
268 College St.
New Haven, CT 06510
The Owl Shop on College Street in New Haven marks its 70th year in 2014, and the mood and motif here is all about class and luxury and pampering oneself with a fine smoke. What other bar, cigar or regular, offers live music on Tuesdays and Wednesdays? The Crown Street Orchestra plays on the former and The Hawkins Jazz Collective on the latter and both provide their own unique brand of music to light up and puff by. The Owl Shop also has a full bar with a bartender and a barista, which means a true cigar connoisseur can have his Bolivar with a Bushmills or his Cueto with a cappuccino. There are biscotti and panini along with cured meat and cheese plates to snack on, and many a fine cigar to accompany them – or vice a versa. The big chairs are deep and comfy, and for $75 a year, patrons can join the Cigar Club – benefits of which include invitations to cigar tastings, a humidor locker on premises, a private ashtray and a special birthday cigar.
Connecticut Cigar Company
43 Bank St.
Stamford, CT 06901
Sports and cigars go together, as anyone whose dad or granddad used to frequent a “smoker” can attest, and the Connecticut Cigar Company not only remembers but glories in those days. With special Sunday football and other sports days where members can watch the game on one of the lounge’s two big 42-inch screens, the Connecticut Cigar Company is all about old school boys’ night out pampering (although it does welcome female members). There are quarter, half, corporate and full-share locker memberships available as well as private humidor leasings available at the CCC, and the place is so classy that it even offers to cater cigar bars at weddings – and rolls its own cigars on the premises.
Cigar Store & More
1293 Gold Star Highway Route 184
Groton, CT 06340
Cigar Store & More in Gorton sees smoking as a social rather than solitaire event, and while the outside looks like a mom and pop bodega in a strip mall, inside it is warm, friendly and welcoming, with a large variety of cigars and a knowledgeable and friendly staff. This shop hosts many cigar-related events, often with live music, free snacks and no cover charge. Cigar Store & More has nearly 100 brands in stock, and will prepare samplers for those who like a little variety or want to try out something new. Owner Joe and his crew like to call this place the “Cheers” of cigar bars; a nice, comfortable, neighborhood place where everyone knows your name – and your brand.
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Have A Cigar
435 Hartford Turnpike
Vernon, CT 06066
Subtitled a “Walk-in Humidor and Smoking Lounge,” the Have A Cigar tobacco shop in Vernon just east of Hartford takes great pride in “offering the widest selection of cigars in Connecticut – no kidding,” says the owner. If it doesn’t have it (which is unlikely), it will get it for the customer, says Mike, whose store not only also has the biggest walk-in humidor in the state but three smoking lounges, one of them with a billiards table. Another lounge even offers video games for customers while they puff away, and there are darts and other pleasures to while away the time with friends. Although Have A Cigar does not serve alcohol, patrons are welcome to bring in a cooler, provided they “just don’t forget us,” adds Mike with a laugh.
230 Roosevelt Drive
Monroe, CT 06468
Want a cigar shop that delivers as well as offers a walk-in humidor with over 400 open boxes of cigars to choose from? Then Brand Cigars in Monroe is the place to go. It has all of the big names and a lot of the lesser known but equally delightful brands. Brand Cigars delivers to golf courses, country clubs, sporting events, wine tastings, weddings and other places and functions in Fairfield and New Haven County – as well as to patrons who are just “bored at home,” as the manager explains.
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Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.