Where Do You Smoke?
Posted: May 8, 2007 11:07pm ET
Yesterday I had lunch with cigarmaker Rocky Patel, Las Vegas cigar retailer Michael Frey and New York City retailer David Kitchens. We took an outdoor table at Rothmann’s Steakhouse on East 54th Street and enjoyed the picture-perfect weather and the midtown Manhattan scenery while smoking cigars.
I’m a Rothmann’s convert. I’ll admit to not loving the restaurant the first time I visited several years ago, but my first taste of the Porterhouse for two changed my mind for good. In a city with a couple of exceptional steak joints, this steak is an attention-grabber, served on a plate loaded with juices from the rare meat. It’s a solid, large meal that can sate two people. (Although a golf buddy says he once polished one off himself.)
Even if you’re not a steak maniac, Rothmann’s policy toward cigar smokers is worthy of a visit. Management treats cigar smokers with class, and welcomes them at the small outdoor seating area out front. We ate, drank and puffed away without a complaint. Ten years ago there were plenty of places in New York that welcomed my cigar. Today there are few.
The pleasant cigar oasis, ideal weather and very good wine had us all in good spirits. Frey, an owner of Casa Fuente and other cigar stores in Vegas, said business was good despite the recent smoking ban. Kitchens, who runs the Davidoff shop on Madison Avenue (just steps from the steakhouse) said business was exceptional, despite the New York City smoking ban. And Rocky said he was coming off his best year ever.
I puffed my cigar and asked the question I’ve been asking just about everyone in the cigar business lately. Where are people smoking their cigars? If restaurants are out, if bars are smoke free, how can cigar sales be so strong?
Kitchens says people are smoking in cars. Rocky says they’re smoking in stores, with cigar shops becoming much more in many cities, adding lounges for people to not only buy cigars, but to sit and enjoy them.
So where do you smoke? I'd like to know.
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