Subscribe to Cigar Aficionado and receive the digital edition of our Premier issue FREE!

Email this page Print this page
Share this page

Chicago Smokes—Four Places to Legally Light Up

Alejandro Benes
Posted: June 12, 2013

(continued from page 2)

The thing about the Clark Street Ale House, though, is that it's the kind of bar you wind up in at the end of a long, warm night in Chicago and sit there with your friends, maybe all a little wobbly from imbibing, and talk about your "glory days." We all have that kind of bar in our past. And I swear, that cute blonde was definitely smiling at me.

Clark Street Ale House
742 N. Clark Street
Monday to Friday: 4 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. - 5 a.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. - 4 a.m.

South Loop Club

The menu describes the South Loop Club as "an intown bar and grill with neighborhood flair." The flair must have been off on the Saturday afternoon I visited. To smoke, you have to sit on the small, unheated patio and pretty much in the middle among the few tables on the sidewalk. The SLC, as it's known, has a door on either end of the patio.

You can get full table service, however, and our charming server was very helpful in explaining the cigar-smoking rules, and then telling us, "Order the burger rare if you want it medium-rare because Pedro tends to overcook." Oh, that Pedro. Not sure we needed that insider info, but, still, the burger is quite good and the menu brags that it is eight ounces of Certified Angus Beef (maybe) for just $7 with fries.

The SLC is a bit of a dive bar, in a neighborhood that is as downtown Chicago as it gets, just a block from blues legend Buddy Guy's Legends club and the red line's elevated tracks, but with gentrification creeping in. It's the kind of neighborhood that my friends who grew up in the city's northern suburbs, when they were in high school, wouldn't tell their parents they were going. They still might not.

The SLC has more than a dozen TVs and on this day one could watch the Cubs, the White Sox and the Blackhawks, but that's inside and no smoking there. The SLC sells a few cigars, best among them probably the Fuente 8-5-8 for $8. Of course, there are plenty of great cigar shops in Chicago, so you can choose what you're going to puff.

South Loop Club
701 S State St (between Balbo Ave & Polk St)
Monday to Friday and Sunday: 11 a.m. - 4 a.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. - 5 a.m.

< 1 2 3

Share |

Comments   6 comment(s)

Alejandro Benes — Newbury Park, CA, USA,  —  June 13, 2013 5:07pm ET

Go Hawks!!!!

Graham Lopinsky — Bolingbrook, IL, U.S.A.,  —  June 13, 2013 8:40pm ET

Yes sir, Let Go Hawks!!!

C.W. Harris June 15, 2013 2:18pm ET

Chicago is a great place to visit with great food, culture, entertainment and places to smoke.
See you soon.
~C. Dub June 18, 2013 1:17am ET

Hoffman Estates has a place....great Filet with creamed spinach,...don't want to give the name away and have excellent patio closed...But bring the sticks...They also have a Cigar Night....

Jim Mochel — Chicago, IL, USA,  —  June 18, 2013 3:55pm ET

Save a few bucks on your cigars in Chicago. Half a block down (and across the street) from Sullivan's is Hubbard State Cigars. Great selection and prices.

Tom Flack — Westerville, Ohio, USA,  —  February 8, 2014 12:45pm ET

The SLC is in a neighborhood that sometimes one would question.However,one will find really nice people there and it is friendly and unassuming. They will upgrade the seating for smoking in due time.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In If You're Already Registered At Cigar Aficionado Online

Forgot your password?

Not Registered Yet? Sign up–It's FREE.


Search By:



Cigar Insider

Cigar Aficionado News Watch
A Free E-Mail Newsletter

Introducing a FREE newsletter from the editors of Cigar Aficionado!
Sign Up Today