aside, if you know anything about getting home to Ventura County from
the west side of Los Angeles around 4 p.m., you know that you're
often better off taking the Pacific Coast Highway. And on those days
that even this route is badly congested, you would be well advised to
take a break. Pull over at the Malibu Cigar Lounge right there across
from Carbon Beach.
The owner, Rick Loehr, will likely be there, looking all surfer-dude and entertaining his visitors with tales of the softball team's latest game, interrupting only to grab a smoke for someone new or to ring up a purchase. (You can gauge if the shop's not too busy—a rare occurrence—if Rick is lounging on a chair on the sidewalk, face up to the sun.)
Malibu Cigar Lounge has all the requisite stuff. Large-screen TVs, music, a poker game on Fridays (invitation only) and a massage therapist on Thursdays. (A what?)
a buck a minute, September Edwards, the masseuse, will put you in her
chair and dig her elbows into places across your back you didn't know
were in such need. While she doesn't recommend it, September doesn't
mind if you smoke while she's working on you. (She prefers Montecristo
white labels herself.) The ol' rub and puff. What better way to relax
after sitting in traffic?
Yeah, all the usual cigar lounge stuff. But you're in Malibu, so sitting on the overstuffed leather couch next to you might be the guy who wrote "The Jerk" regaling the gang with showbiz stories. Or Gary Busey might drop by.
"I call it 'bums to billionaires,'" Loehr explained, referring
to the lounge's clientele, but not specifying who is which.
Malibu Cigar Lounge is relatively small, but stocks a great selection, including, from a quick recon, the complete Tatuaje line.
Loehr, a native New Yorker turned Californian, is a musician who was in the spirits and wine business before he bought the shop nearly two years ago, remodeled it and hung art from local painters and photographers.
Posterized portraits of regulars from photographer Kimball Hall line
the walls in the front room just below the ceiling.
Malibu Cigar Lounge is a great improvement over the previous cigar shop. Loehr says he wants to expand the space to include a patio in the back.
For now, Malibu Cigar Lounge is just the perfect place to enjoy a cigar during another day in paradise. And, when the highway is a parking lot.
Malibu Cigar Lounge
22525 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265-5810
Monday - Saturday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.