Friends are coming to town. Cigar friends. Not just ones who smoke cigars, friends who make cigars. They've been in Northern California and have not had a cigar in four days. What to do? They ask me where they should stay when they're in Los Angeles. The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, please. (Technically, the address is in Beverly Grove, literally one lane across the street from "Hills.") In any case, I might have recommended the Four Seasons, but my suggestion was particularly appropriate for this occasion. This Four Seasons has a great cigar patio in its main bar.
Windows Lounge is visible as you pull into the driveway. The patio is just behind the statue of Marilyn Monroe, cast in the famous pose of her skirt blowing up from the subway scene in The Seven Year Itch.
Windows is a classic, high-end hotel lounge, the kind you might find in great cities around the world. The patio, however, is distinctive. It's big, wrapping around all the way to the hotel's excellent Italian restaurant, which makes a very good double espresso. On any given weekday afternoon, the patio is fairly empty after lunch. Take your own cigar or buy one there, then grab a seat and relax. I often take a book when I have time in between appointments. The server will bring you a proper cigar ashtray.
The lounge titles its cigar menu as a "premium" collection and, to some extent, it is. Especially premium are the prices. Hey, you're at the Four Seasons. The Fuente Fuente OpusX, as it was listed on the menu, is offered at $105, with "selected sizes available." A Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Superior sells for $49, an Ashton Virgin Sun Grown of indeterminate size is $30, and various other name brands are there to be had. The humidor seemed a bit sparsely stocked and the whole cigar program probably could be upgraded, but, hey, I have my Ashton Estate Sun Grown burning nicely while sipping an afternoon beer. Who am I to complain?
The cocktail list has some interesting selections, including a Negroni, one of my favorites, and a pisco sour, also useful at times. Lunch can be had on the patio as well. This is pretty standard fare, but at 4 p.m., the "Streat" menu becomes available. It's a sort of tip-of-the-hat to street food treats from around the globe. I like the tostones, green plantains served with tropical fruit and charred corn salsa, and the banh mi with slow roasted pork belly. On a cool day, the churros with hot chocolate can provide some warmth.
Ultimately, you might visit Windows to see and be seen. It's a hot gathering spot for the well established in the town's most celebrated industry: show business. On the weekend before the college football national championship, the lounge was a crush of pro athletes who attended either Florida State or Auburn. Charles Barkley was the most prominent among them, holding court inside. Hollywood types, whose faces were familiar even as names eluded you, gathered with one another. Some Sopranos alums puffed on cigars on the patio while my friends and I enjoyed an Atlantico rum with our Padrón Family Reserve 44 Years that I had brought along.
Windows is special among the numerous cigar spots in L.A. I often run into people I know. Those are unexpected pleasures that add up in a city that is often difficult to navigate. Windows makes it inviting to just sit and let serendipity do its magic.
Alejandro Benes celebrates with cigars all over Southern California.
Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
300 S Doheny Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Sunday 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Monday through Saturday: 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Live Music Friday & Saturday: 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Valet Parking $8.00 with validation from the bar