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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Danny DeVito, Winter 96

(continued from page 5)

Dear Marvin,

In keeping with the spirit of your magazine in identifying those restaurants who are and are not "cigar friendly," I'd like to relate an experience I had recently involving Friday's restaurant in West Melbourne, Florida.

Over a year ago, several of my Masonic brothers began meeting after work in the lodge at the local Friday's for a drink and a smoke. For over a year, nothing had ever been said about those of us enjoying a good cigar with our drink. That is until last week, when upon sitting at the bar and ordering a good Scotch I was jokingly told by my bartender that there was a 10 percent surcharge for cigar smokers. I responded lightheartedly that I'd not pay a premium for enjoying something I'd been enjoying for years for nothing at their establishment.

At this point my bartender's female partner handed me a menu. I thought she was looking to take our order for munchies and sat it on the bar, not being ready to order anything else. At which time she turned the menu over and pointed to some very fine print on the back of the menu. There, midway through a paragraph of print so small I had to get out my reading glasses, was a single sentence stating that cigar smoking was not allowed in their establishment.

I couldn't believe it. But, there it was in print so small it had to have been printed not to be noticed. Not wanting to offend anyone, I put my cigar down immediately and let it go out. However, I could not help but feel embarrassed and discriminated against. First, I was at the bar I had visited without incident with my cigar for well over a year, in a smoking area surrounded by at least two dozen cigarette smokers. Second, no one had complained (we had just arrived). Third, we were known to her partner to be both regular patrons, never obnoxious and always good tippers. This barkeep simply took it upon herself to point out this until now hidden rule.

That Friday's should feel the need for such a rule is, of course, its management prerogative. That they had chosen to ignore this rule for well over a year, allowing my lodge brothers and myself to smoke cigars in their restaurant without incident or complaint, had led me to believe that they were a cigar friendly establishment. Upon finding out that I was misinformed, I politely advised our barkeeps that while I took no offense, I had but one appropriate response to their policy, particularly in the manner that they informed me of it, and that this would be my last visit. After paying for and finishing my Scotch, I bade them farewell for the final time.

Marvin, I've written to both point out another establishment that needs to be put on your "cigar unfriendly" list and also to point out the manner in which they informed me. I feel that they were less than up-front. After all, fine print on the back of their menus so small as to be noticed by no one is hardly the way to let someone know you don't want their business. They could have at least been decent enough to post this policy in a manner and place so as to be noticed by all who patronize their restaurant and not to take my money for well over a year while allowing me to believe that it was perfectly acceptable to enjoy a fine cigar at their bar.

Perhaps by sharing my experience, a fellow cigar smoker might be spared my embarrassment and an otherwise fine establishment might see the benefit of revising its policies so as to make cigar smokers either welcomed, or more easily informed that they are not.

R.D. Taylor
Melbourne, Florida

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