New York City Cigar Shop Highlights
Cigar Aficionado readers know that there are some great lounges in Manhattan, though I hope they didn't suffer through that absurd video shot to accompany the article. The article did hit the major attractions, but there are some other hidden gems that only the devout locals know about. If you're looking to sit down and enjoy a cigar in the city, you have plenty of choices – take advantage of them!
Even with the smoking ban, there are more cigar shops and lounges than even most New Yorkers realize. In addition to the major stores like De La Concha and Davidoff Madison Avenue, boutique hand-rollers dot the city, and they are worth a visit from time to time.
So, the next time you set out for the quintessential Manhattan smoke, mix it up. Hit the major shops, but also stop by the places that are off the beaten path. You'll enjoy the experience.
Gallery: De La Concha Avo Campanero Dinner
The Big Guys
De La Concha
I have to start with De La Concha, because it's my favorite shop and where I smoke most. Located on Sixth Ave between W. 56th St. and W. 57th St., it's centrally located for both locals and out-of-towners setting up camp in mid-town hotels. The large inventory is an obvious draw, but the floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall window that looks out onto the sidewalk – and a lounge that seats 12 – makes the store stand out. Also, De La Concha has an active events schedule, so there's always something interesting happening in the store.
There are several Barclay Rex stores in Manhattan. The two largest are on E. 51st St. and Lexington Ave. and on Broad St. downtown. There's also a small standing room shop across the street from Grand Central Station. The inventory is sufficient, though the friendliness of the staff varies. The hidden gem is an extremely inexpensive house cigar (a variety of sizes under $5) that smokes like it should cost a few dollars more.
There are two Davidoff stores in Manhattan (not counting De La Concha, which is Davidoff-owned, as well). One is on the corner of E. 54th St. and Madison Ave, and the other is in the TimeWarner Center at Columbus Circle. These stores definitely skew upscale and have great selections, but seating is limited. Also, the up-market feel is designed to limit the customers who hang around to those who spend the most.
Wall Street Humidor
Despite the name, Wall Street Humidor isn't all that close to Wall Street, but it is quite close to City Hall and Foley Square (where the courts are). So, this is a good spot for a quick fix when you're on jury duty.
Tip: If you have federal jury duty, buy a few cigars here and take them into the courthouse with you. There's a smoking lounge off the jury room. But, this only works for federal court. If you have jury duty for New York County, you're out of luck.
Under the Radar
This small shop features exclusively the cigars it rolls. Tucked away on W. 29th St. between Broadway and Seventh Ave, the shop toils in relative obscurity, which is an absolute shame. The quality is quite high relative to price point, and you'll walk away with an enjoyable smoke.
Like Martinez, Taino doesn't offer much seating, and it features its own cigars (though it sells a few major brands, too). Also off the beaten path, on Ninth Ave between W. 38th St. and W. 39th St. (not far from New York Port Authority), Taino has a variety of mild- and medium-bodied cigars at incredibly reasonable prices. You can pick up a bundle of cigars for only $100. There aren't many other places where you can do this.