Featured Cigar Lounge: The Owl Shop in New Haven, Connecticut
Not far from Yale, you'll find a cigar oasis that is comparable to any major city lounge in the country. The Owl Shop offers a complete experience, with a full bar to complement the cigars housed in the large humidors that line the walls. So, plop into one of the large, soft leather chairs, sip a cabernet and light up the stick of your choice. This is the one place in New Haven where lovers of the leaf can pass a few hours blissfully unaware of what the outside world holds.
Owl is long and fairly narrow, though there is plenty of room to walk up and down the store; it isn't cramped. You can sit at the bar or in the lounge chairs set back near the wall, where the waitresses will take your cigar and drink orders. Large flat-screen televisions are usually tuned to the sporting event of the day, which can be a draw for many cigar smokers, though I'm generally not interested (just a quirk, I guess). At the back of the store, which widens, there is a large table where a crowd can gather, along with other seating. Back here, you can dodge the television gauntlet and converse or just relax.
Gallery: The Owl Shop in New Haven
The inventory at Owl is certainly substantial, though there are a few brands that weren't available. If you don't find exactly what you want, you probably will find something comparable in size, taste and price. Not really a limitation, this merely reflects a situation found at most cigar shops and lounges – the cigars carried tend to be what the customers smoke. Again, it didn't take me long to find something to make me happy.
There is definitely a group of regulars at Owl; it was clear immediately that many of the people in the lounge visit it frequently. I was with my father, so we didn't really mix with the locals, though my brief encounter showed me that they were friendly and willing to include first-timers in their conversations (some shops have crowds that tend to exclude).
If you live in New Haven, you have a great local cigar destination right in your backyard. For the rest of us, Owl is a great stop when passing through. The service is flawless, and the environment just can't be beat.