If there was ever a prototype of a neighborhood cigar lounge, Fair Oaks Cigars in Newport Beach, California, could argue for the role. In this affluent part of Orange County, Fair Oaks Cigars sits in a typical strip mall, tucked in between a sandwich shop and a café. Significantly, what the lounge has are about 16 well-worn leather chairs, WiFi, two large TVs and lots of great cigars that you can smoke right there.
This day, while waiting for time to pass, I choose a La Palina Mr. Sam, which I enjoy while chatting with another visitor who shares his appreciation of Mark Twain. We talk about Twain, today's work ethic among available job applicants and the local restaurant scene. The NBA draft is playing on the TVs and the announcement of the picks intermittently elicits compliments, but mostly complaints and "expert" analysis of the players.
There's a sign on the drinks refrigerator next to the counter in front that says, "Want to use the lounge? Buy a cigar." No problem here. I almost choose a Paul Garmirian PG cigar, just for the sake of nostalgia and because I'm impressed they're here. Not so surprising is the large number of smokes from Ashton, Padrón, La Flor Dominicana, Davidoff, Avo and Tatuaje, among others, in the humidor. Great selection at relatively reasonable prices for California.
Newport Beach is a great weekend getaway for Southern Californians. There are great restaurants and lots of shows on, particularly during the summer months. And, of course, there's the beach and the Pacific Ocean. There are not a lot of welcoming places where one can enjoy a cigar. Now you can put this one on the list.
Fair Oaks Cigars
1000 Bristol St N #7
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Open daily: 10 a.m. to midnight