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Iwan Ries, Chicago

Seth Schwartz
Posted: December 1, 2010

(continued from page 1)

"We have an eclectic membership base," said Richard Bley, ambassador for the lounge. "We'd like to keep it word of mouth."

Colder weather brings in more traffic than the summer months.

Bob Miller, president of Earthwise Environmental Inc. in suburban Bensenville, travels into Chicago frequently and says business works well over a cigar. "I've met [prospective] clients to discuss a proposal in the conference room a few times," said Miller. "We bought sandwiches and had lunch and meeting for an hour and a half. It's a perfect setup."

At age five, Lou Conforti got his introduction to Iwan Ries when his uncle brought him along on a shopping trip. "This is a respite from the rest of the world," he says. "I like to come in after the market closes or on the weekend. Occasionally I'll have a business meeting here. It's inclusive, everyone is kindred spirit. It's nice to have an intellectual conversation and a good smoke. When you come in it forces you to decompress and relax."

Bankruptcy lawyer Mike Benz is one of the morning patrons. "I concentrate better; I think it has something to do with cigars," said Benz, whose office is three blocks away. "I write briefs here. It's great to be able to smoke and work."

George Souri manages Atria Capital, an investment company. "We've lost the sublime appreciation for fine things," said Souri. "This is a gentlemen's club. The room is beautiful; the leather chairs are comfortable. It's a place that fosters camaraderie and friendship. The business contacts are a nice benefit. The mix of people gives a center to expand a tradition. You're with company you enjoy."

Annual membership in the lounge is $750. Day passes are available for $15.

Iwan Ries
19 S. Wabash Ave., 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603

Store Hours
Monday to Friday: 9:00 to 5:30
Saturday: 9:00 to 5:00
Sunday: Closed

Lounge Hours
Monday to Saturday: 9:00 to 10:00
Sunday: 11:00 to 6:00

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Comments   4 comment(s)

Taylor Franklin December 1, 2010 10:51pm ET

An urbane refuge; most welcome.

I'm a big fan of Iwan Ries, they have impeccable mail order/e-order service too.

Highly recommended.

Christopher Hill — Chicago, Illinois, United States,  —  December 4, 2010 11:47pm ET

Don't know how I missed this place back when I was working in the Loop in the 90s. Will have to check it out. Thanks for the heads-up Seth.

M M — NAPERVILLE, IL, UNITED STATES,  —  December 21, 2010 4:30pm ET

Iwan Ries is a good spot but the best spot, bar none, to have a cigar in the Chicago area is Casa Monte Cristo in Countryside. The Casa might be the finest cigar establishment I have ever been to in the world. The VIP lounge is primo and anyone that is in the area should stop in and experience it.

Mark Domke — chicago, il, United States,  —  June 14, 2011 12:48am ET

I disagree with M M of Naperville. For a suburban, glitzy franchise with no windows, Casa de Montecristo is fine. But if you want to view an entire block of vintage downtown architecture as the El goes by, Iwan's is it. If your style is more new-school, the boys at Tesa have a great new spot among the galleries and packing house operations in the West Loop.

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