Here's the sad truth: Not one team from a cigar-producing nation remains in the World Baseball Classic. The happy truth is that the semifinal games and final are being hosted by Los Angeles and Dodger Stadium. Of all the cities in which this year's classic has been played, L.A. is not as cigar-unfriendly as you might think. The City of Angels is actually very tolerant of cigar lovers.
I have four recommendations for enjoying a cigar here. I reported on three of them in October for the MLB playoffs, and not much has really changed, despite an effort by the city council to make smoking a lot more difficult.
The fourth option is to find any restaurant with outdoor seating and press your case to have a cigar. It's very likely that people will legally be smoking cigarettes in areas that are not completely enclosed. With the games starting in the early evening, you have a good number of hours to enjoy a great cigar before and after the contests. (I'll even give you a fifth option and invite you to sit on the front patio at my restaurant, Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill, at The Grove at Farmer's Market. That's where I'll be after the first semifinal on Saturday night.)
My favorite place to enjoy a cigar in L.A. while watching a ballgame is at the Buena Vista Cigar Club & Lounge in Beverly Hills. This place is owned by Cubans who love baseball and watching the Cuban team lose to Japan here was quite the thing.
Buena Vista Cigar Club & Lounge
9715 South Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA
A very comfortable place to sit and have a cigar is Ceniza Cigar Lounge in Pasadena. It's a hybrid cigar store and lounge. The location really can't be beat with respect to the ease of getting to Dodger Stadium.
Ceniza Cigar Lounge
260 E. Colorado Blvd.
Finally, J Restaurant & Lounge is the place to go after the game. It's downtown near the Staples Center and Nokia Live, and there's a lot of activity when the Lakers or Kings are playing or, really, every night. The food is good, the drinks are tasty and the balcony is very inviting on mild Southern California nights.
J Restaurant & Lounge
1119 South Olive St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Alejandro Benes is a writer and restaurateur in Southern California.
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