Cigar Lounge Rules – 10 Tips on Etiquette
Have you ever been in a cigar lounge trying to relax and enjoy a fine cigar, maybe a nice pour of whiskey along with it, trying to unwind from a long work week?
As you are sitting there trying to get lost in the atmosphere and relaxation of this time, you notice him, that guy, being obnoxious, rude, or just downright annoying.
If you haven’t seen this in a lounge from time to time, I have some bad news, this person might be you! I am going to give you the top 10 things, cigar lounge rules, my friends in the cigar industry and I have come up with a list of things which annoy our customers, the smoke shop’s employees, cigar store managers and owners of lounges.
Cigar Lounge Rule 1: Buy a cigar or two from the lounge.
I know this is a controversial topic, especially with big internet dealers that can sell cigars at a price much lower than you will ever see in a cigar shop or lounge.
Think of it this way, would you go to a nice steakhouse for the atmosphere and bring McDonalds with you to eat instead of buying from the steakhouse menu.
Cigar retailers have a very large amount of overhead as well as state and federal regulations, and licenses to maintain.
Some people’s immediate reaction is “well that is not my problem”. It will become your problem when your local cigar lounge has to close, and you are left to smoke in the snow during the winter months, or burning summer heat.
Rule 2: If bring your own cigars, remove the band.
Just because you listened to rule one does not mean you have to smoke what you purchased from the lounge at that time. We all have found great cigars either online or in other shops your local shop doesn’t carry, there is nothing saying you can’t bring your own smokes and enjoy them in the lounge.
Removing the band is a nice way of not advertising for someone else. If there are premium cigars you feel very strongly about, talk to the manager or owner. We are people too and it is very hard to try everything out there, and we do miss the boat every now and again.
Rule 3: Do not brag about the price or rarity of what you are smoking.
This is another one of those cigar lounge rules that seem like they shouldn’t need to be said but, again and again we see it. Cigar lounge managers and owners try very hard to breed an atmosphere of inclusion, and friendliness in the lounge.
This is really hard to accomplish when someone is alienating other regular customers because they are smoking a $35 Opus X Lost City, and making sure everyone around knows it.
Rule 4: Dress appropriately
I am not suggesting that you need a sports coat, slacks, and loafers to be in the lounge but, there are some written and unwritten rules. Most lounges have some sort if dress code, and in their rules, there are still some leeway to be yourself. Most lounges have a no gym attire, no soiled clothes, and other policies.
A good rule of thumb to follow to be welcomed in any lounge is, a nice non-torn pair of jeans and a collared shirt. Just think to yourself, what would I wear to go to a nice establishment out with your significant other or friends.
Rule 5: Mind your mess.
We do employ staff to empty ashtrays, clear, and wipe tables, but some people are just gross. I have seen my employees having to pick gum out of ashtrays, and digging cellophane wrappers from between couch cushions.
In any lounge there are plenty of trash cans around or at worst keep everything contained in the ashtray.
For the love of God don’t throw out loose gum in ashtrays without wrapping it in a tissue or wrapper first.
Rule 6: Be social but don’t force it.
The lounge is there to be a social atmosphere, one of my friends that owns a very successful lounge always says “the cigar lounge is the one place CEOs and janitors can come together on a common ground, and have a meaningful conversation”.
To me this statement could not be truer but, some people come for a place to smoke a cigar while finishing some work, or just looking for some peace. With that said, if you exchange greetings with people, you can end have a great conversation with some amazing people and like minded individuals.
And please, stay off your cell phone. Thats one of those unwritten cigar lounge rules.
Rule 7: If using the lounges public cutter do not put the cigar in your mouth first.
I am not going to speak much on this, because with the current world’s problems with Covid this should really be self-explanatory, but I do still see it happening. I have a policy that anytime this happens the cutter must be thrown away. I feel like this is a topic we all can agree on, just be mindful of your actions.
Best to bring your own cigar cutter. Here is a run-down of the 3 most popular types of cigar cutters.
Rule 8: Do not smoke cigarettes in the lounge.
Just because someone likes to smoke cigars does not mean they do not have an aversion to cigarette smoke. A big fight we have in the cigar industry is the FDA is trying to regulate cigars the same as all other tobacco products.
We run the risk in my area of local law enforcement shutting us down if people are smoking cigarettes in the lounge.
This is more of a common courtesy in most lounges, as well as a great way to get asked to leave.
Rule 9: If you are going to drink alcohol do not take it too far.
Most lounges have some form of alcohol that can be served while you are enjoying a nice cigar, and can be a truly enjoyable experience. With that said do not be the person that becomes “that guy”, that becomes intoxicated and ruins the lounge experience for everyone else enjoying their time.
Rule 10: Have fun!
The main thing, the first priority, the mack-daddy of all the rules, please have an enjoyable experience, have a good time. As a lounge manager my biggest fear is walking into my lounge and it is full of scowling faces in dead silence.
In a lot of cigar groups, you will hear the term “brother/sister of the leaf”, this means we all have at least one thing in common, the love of a great cigar. This statement in itself means you can walk up to anyone smoking a cigar and ask “what are you smoking?”, and immediately have something to talk about.
If you follow these 10 rules you will be welcomed by the lounge employees, and patrons alike. All I ever wanted my lounge to be is a place where someone can have the weight of the world on their shoulders when they enter, and for that hour or more they can decompress and feel good about where they are.
All of this talk has got me ready to have a cigar myself, I hope this list of cigar lounge etiquette helps some cigar enthusiasts in their enjoyment of this amazing hobby.
I hope you enjoyed this quick rundown of the 10 cigar lounge rules. Until next time, stay smokey my friends.
Added notes from the Editor : The Canadian Perspective
These are great, proper cigar lounge etiquette tips for all cigar lovers who want to enjoy a nice cigar in the company of others. Perhaps the one that sticks out the most is Rule #1: Support your local cigar shop.
I know we all like to save a buck, but being able to sit in a leather chair in a good cigar lounge, learn from the expertise of a good tobacconist, while enjoying some premium handmade cigars with fellow smokers, should be well worth the extra buck or two it costs when compared to discount mail order shops.
Just look at what has happened to local hardware stores, grocery stores and mom-and-pop shops all over the United States and Canada: They’ve been replaced by the Wal-Marts, Amazon and other superstores. Have you tried getting help in one of these superstores?
If enough people don’t support the local smoking lounge, cigar bar or all types of cigar lounges, they might go the way of the aforementioned smaller suppliers.
So above all, let’s support our favorite cigar lounge or local smokeshop, and have a great cigar smoking experience by following appropriate cigar lounge etiquette.
#BOTL #SOTL #PSSITA
Do you have any favorite local cigar lounges you’d like to recommend for this list? Let me know in the comments below!