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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Michael Richards, Sep/Oct 97

(continued from page 8)

Another thing your magazine seems to promote is the return to a more genteel era when men were gentlemen and lived by a certain code. I'm all for that, since gentlemen always retired to the smoking room after a meal to partake in cigars and brandy. Of course in the modern scenario, the women are going to have to join the men in their partaking.

So, instead of complaining about not being able to light up anytime, anywhere, let's use our energy to champion our favorite restaurants and hotels to open special cigar rooms, and we will be able to enjoy the pleasure of smoke without making it unbearable for the nonsmokers!

Janet L. McAuley
Kunkletown, Pennsylvania


Dear Marvin,

During a recent stay at the Hilton on Marco Island, Florida, I learned that anti-cigar policies may not only frustrate and embarrass, but can confuse the management as well as the cigar lover.

After a great day on the beach, I phoned from our room for a reservation that evening for my wife and myself in the hotel's premier restaurant, Sandcastles. The woman who pleasantly took our reservation casually asked if I would prefer the smoking section. "No," I said, "unless you permit cigar smoking." She said they did not permit cigar smoking and would seat us in the nonsmoking section. That was OK with us. As pleasurable as an after-dinner cigar is, I will never push the cigar smoking thing in the face of an establishment's policy on the matter.

Three minutes later, as we were dressing for dinner, the phone rang. It was the reservations woman with the pleasant voice telling me that her boss said it was OK to smoke a cigar in the restaurant's smoking section, and if I wanted to do a cigar after dinner she would seat us in the smoking section. I thought that was very considerate and accepted the offer. After all, I hadn't even pressed the matter. It was their decision, apparently trying to be all things to all diners. Preparing for dinner, I had visions of a cigar with espresso and brandy. My wife enjoys the aroma of a good cigar. It was going to be a luxurious and relaxing meal. I selected a Macanudo and we headed for Sandcastles.

The meal was great--that is, until we ordered espresso and I lit the Macanudo. The restaurant manager raced over to our table in the smoking section to tell us quite loudly that there was no cigar smoking at Sandcastles. I tried to stay cool as I told him about the reservations woman who called me back to offer me cigar smoking even though I hadn't demanded it. He smugly said he'd send over the assistant food and beverage director.

Again, I explained the situation and pointed out that we would have preferred sitting at one of the choice tables in the nonsmoking section if I hadn't been invited to smoke a cigar in the smoking section, the second-rate part of the restaurant, as usual. This fellow was somewhat more polite and listened with apparent compassion. But rules are rules, he indicated. By this time, other diners' heads were turned toward our table. Embarrassed, we canceled our plans for espresso and brandy. I extinguished the cigar, asked for the bill and we left the restaurant, the eyes of the other diners following us.

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