I’m sitting atop 666 Fifth Avenue, gazing out across glorious Central Park as the sun goes down in the full flush of midsummer and I think, “What would make this scenario even better?
I’ll kill the suspense right now and just say it: a cigar and a cocktail.
Happily, the above mentioned address is home to New York City’s Grand Havana Room, where enjoying those two items in conjunction is not only allowed, it’s the plan. So I summon the svelte waitress in the end-of-the-world mini-dress, request a Knob Creek Manhattan straight up with a twist and draw my Alec Bradley Tempus from a pouch humidor.
All is right with the world. I’m in one of the premier smoking spots on the globe, ensconced in an enveloping leather easy chair in this wood-paneled haven of—what some would call decadence, I would say—spiritualism.
But my reverie abandons me as I ponder the lot of the souls wandering just beneath me in the park. For they cannot smoke their cherished cigars. They cannot sip their Manhattans. And it’s simply because the law won’t allow. Here, I am one of the privileged. I can indulge myself in these two ways after a day of work, which is something that not too long ago you could do all over New York City. Sadly, that is no longer true, and you need access to this club or one of a handful of places that still allow cigars.
Then I remember it is summer, and the weather and human ingenuity have conspired to vanquish draconian smoking regulations. There’s the hotel across from where I work that opens its rooftop to cigar lovers. There’s the pub down the street that’s created a patio in its backyard. And then, of course, there are the many tobacconists who, no matter what the climate, have welcoming lounges for those who could not otherwise find smoking asylum.
So I sit easier thinking of the retreats that allow us to pursue our passion and I raise my glass in appreciation of them. I hope you all have just places and cherish them. At Cigar Aficionado, we want to know about all such precious vanishing natural resources. Wherever you are in America, please tell me the places you have found to enjoy a cigar and a cocktail.
And follow me on Twitter @JackBettridge.