Smokin' in Chicago (continued)



Name: UPDOWN TOBACCO
UpDown really stocks the best of the best. Whether it is pipes, tobacco, cigars, humidors, or accessories, come here for the finest. There is a beautiful display of S&S Meerschaums just inside the door and another of Savinellis at the back. They carry 200 kinds of pipe tobacco, including four that are blended on site. Besides all the other cigars, they carry the Diana Silvius line; four sizes of Connecticut wrapped Dominicans that are rolled to Gits' specifications by Fuente. Humidors that are works of art (sit down before you check the price tags) are displayed in specially designed cases.




Name: KINGBURY'S CIGAR SHOP
(inside Sam's Wine and Spirits)


With some people, liquor store tobacco shops have a bad reputation. This place is likely to give them a good one. Sam's has fine food, vintage wine, and some damn good cigars. Okay, so it's in Yuppie heaven, but who indulges their hedonistic yearnings better?


Name: BLUE HAVANA

"It's weird, but there's a sort of yin yang symbiosis between them," says Mark Thomas, about his adjacent tobacco and lingerie shops. Something for the men and the women, but which is for whom? In truth, I had a hard time concentrating on the cigars. Which is surprising, because there is a lot to see here (in cigars, I mean). Besides an excellent selection of established brands, there are some interesting new ones. "We think there are a lot of good cigars out there and we're finding them," Thomas says.




Name: AROUND THE WORLD TOBACCO

Mark Musleh says his clientele are experienced, knowledgeable smokers who expect good quality. "Our philosophy is value. Keep the price low and supply what the customer needs." This he has done. Around The World Tobacco has a large selection of cigars, some pipes, and tobacco at good prices. They carry Dunhill, Avo, Punch, and Hoyo de Monterrey, as well as a variety of newer brands, and customers come from all over Chicago to buy them.

Name: CHICAGO CIGAR COMPANY
Located on Lincoln Avenue near Irving Park Road, the Chicago Cigar Company is in a rapidly developing part of the city. The building has been in the Sokes family for 100 years, and Wayne grew up in the neighborhood. He opened the business when he felt that the area had grown enough to need a place to relax, drink gourmet coffee, and smoke. Here you can do all three. The humidor stocks fewer premium brands than some shops, but you can still find a Fonseca, Don Tomas or Fuente, and Sokes has worked hard to fill in the gaps with interesting new cigars.


Name: HABANA HOUSE OF FINE CIGARS

Habana House has a lot of cigars and a little bit of everything else. Their Bad Boy cigars are bundled Hondurans that sell for $3.50 and are a good deal. They also carry one of the largest selection of Fuentes outside The Loop. Besides pipes they have their own blends of tobaccos prepared on site, as well as accessories and humidors.


Name: GOODFELLA'S CIGAR A SHOP

A good hang in the 'hood. These two brothers have put a shop in an area where you wouldn't think there would be much interest in fine cigars. Michael Squeo said he had doubts when it opened, but Goodfella's has done well here. "Most of my customers are cops, firemen, city workers, and guys from the neighborhood. People complain because the cops want a discount but I'm happy to give it to them 'cause they buy 1O times as many cigars. And they do a tough job so it's not a problem for me."

Name: "THE BIG CIGAR" CO.

"I like bringing on new products," Buono says, and there are a variety of interesting new or moderate priced cigars in his humidor. Big Butt, La Aurora, and Victor Sinclair are here, but Buono carries Partagas, Punch, Macanudo, and Hoyo de Monterrey as well. He researched carefully before opening and has established a shop with a lot to offer both in cigars and events. "The Big Cigar" sponsors wine and cognac tastings, golf outings, and a cigar dinner once a month. They have a lounge area and cigar lockers for their clients.

Click here for a Map of Chicago's Cigar Scene...

For the full text of this article, see the current issue of SMOKE magazine -
available at a tobacconist near you.





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