I recently went to Washington D.C. for the first time ever. I was there to judge the World Whiskies Awards at Jack Rose. But before that I had to do some sightseeing and scope out the cigar scene. I did a little research ahead of time so I would be able to find the best spots, and find the best spots I did.
699 15th St NW Washington, DC 20005
W. Curtis Draper was established in 1887, making it the oldest tobacconist in Washington D.C. I was unable to stop in as I spent a significant portion of my day wandering haphazardly from sight to sight, but it is worth noting that this store has a larger footprint than you might initially think.
5335 Wisconsin Avenue NW Washington, DC 20015
I finally found Civil Lounge on after a long and tiring day, so it was wonderful to take a seat at the bar and just study the menu and relax. I ordered my food first, which turned out to be a tiny mistake – the humidor closed while I was eating so I was unable to explore it. But the great thing about this lounge was that I was able to order a cigar from the bar tender and have it brought right to me, which I didn’t mind one bit after walking all over the city all day.
So after dinner I sat with a My Father Le Bijou Petit Robusto and began studying the extensive whiskey list. I chatted with a local who stops in often about bourbon tourism and I chatted with the bartender about his many trips to Kentucky for choosing private barrels for the bar. In fact, they had a massive collection of their private barrel of Weller behind glass in the hallway leading to the bar.
As I was reading through the whiskey and spirits menu I noticed a list of other establishments throughout the area that partner with the Draper brand of cigar companies to create well stocked humidors throughout the city. Jack Rose is on that list. This is a great place to enjoy a good whiskey and a great cigar. I was even surprised to see they had Kentucky Peerless Rye on the shelf. Whoever is stocking their bar clearly knows a thing or two about bourbon.
After studying the whiskey list, which was quite impressive, I decided I was too tired from my early travel day to enjoy a drink. I finished my cigar and took a Lyft back to the hotel to get rested for the next day’s hard work.
2007 18 St NW Washington, DC 20009
I noticed the large cabinet of cigars behind the hostess station as soon as I walked in. I asked proprietor Bill Thomas where guests smoke and he told me his upstairs balcony is covered from the elements and they have the option of heating if it isn’t too cold. This is a nice option for folks who are in that area to enjoy both a great whiskey selection and a great selection of cigars.
I only had a few days to spend in Washington, D.C. for my first trip, but I made the most of it and covered a lot of ground. There are many great cigar spots as well as many great bourbon spots, and I feel like I found the best ones on my first try. Washington, D.C. is a great place for whiskey and cigar lovers to visit.
Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl