Filed under: Cigars
According to Gregory Mottola, of Cigar Aficionado, most of Chicago's cigar smoking takes place in local smoke shops. A smoking ban has whittled the field of options down, and there aren't any grandfathered establishments (as there, for example, in New York). Of course, lighting up on Michigan Avenue works for only part of the year, thanks to the city's brutal winters.
Mottola did find luck at Jack Schwartz Importer, a small shop on West Jackson Boulevard in the financial district. The store is small, but it does have a few chairs – for which there is considerable competition. Unfortunately, Jack Schwartz closes at 5 PM, leaving few options for an evening smoke.
When Mottola asks a store manager where people smoke after work, the reply was brutal and blunt: "They don't. This is pretty much it."
Iwan Ries, which also closes at 5 PM, has a 1,000 square-foot lounge on its second floor, with large windows that allow plenty of sunlight. Black leather chairs, televisions and wood floors adorn the lounge. Non-members have to pay a $10 fee (per day), and they, like members, are required to bring their own spirits. The store does not have lockers or personal humidors on site.