I often see people bringing cigars into a cigar lounge and sitting down to smoke them without ever buying a single thing from the establishment. This is baffling to me. You wouldn’t take your Big Mac into Burger King and sit at their table to eat it, so why go to a smoking lounge without buying anything? The first rule of cigar lounge etiquette is buy something there. They are paying the rent and utilities, after all. This got me thinking, what other lounge and event etiquette is constantly being broken?
“That’s mostly it,” says Jeff Mouttet, owner and operator of Match Cigar Bar in Jeffersonville, Indiana, adding, “Don’t be a jackass. Politics and religion? Ok, if you’re not being a jackass. Don’t commandeer the conversation (also known as not being a jackass). Don’t pontificate about how great your expensive cigar is (also known as, well, you get the idea).”
The cigar lounge is a place for everyone to feel welcome to unwind at the end of the day. Conversation should obviously be kept polite, but also if you see someone who might be new, ask them to join you. Some people go to a cigar lounge to be left alone, but it is also a social place and I’ve made many great friends just by sitting down and chatting with a group of strangers.
Events are another area of the cigar world that have their own set of etiquette. The main thing you probably won’t know the first thing you go to an event is that you should buy a cigar from the manufacturer who is holding the event. If you go to an Arturo Fuente event, buy an Arturo Fuente product. If you go to a Tatuaje event, buy a Tatuaje product. And if you go to a Drew Estate event, buy a Drew Estate product.
Jefe Tinnell, Midwest Regional Sales Manager for Drew Estate Cigars, attends various cigar events at lounges and festivals around the world. “Most cigar smokers are so friendly and laid-back and supportive of the reps’ efforts at events that there is not much to complain about, EXCEPT, it can be frustrating when you’re sharing details about a cigar and someone comes up and starts to denigrate it, saying they didn’t like the taste or had burn issues when they tried it. Yes, being a hand-made product there can be production issues, and not everyone likes the same cigars, but let that person I’m talking to try it and decide for themselves rather than poisoning their perception in that fashion.”
Just like you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) go to a whiskey bar and tell someone their favorite whiskey is crap, you also shouldn’t tell someone their cigar is no good. Everyone has different tastes. That’s why there are so many different cigars. If they didn’t sell they wouldn’t keep getting made.
Cigar lounges are a great place to unwind, and they are experiencing quite a resurgence in popularity these days. Look for more lounges to continue to open up worldwide. When you find one, whether in your hometown or in your travels, don’t be intimidated. Just walk in and say hello.
Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl and Linda Doane