In this era of extreme tobacco legislation in New York City, it’s reassuring to know that a real cigar bar such as The Carnegie Club—where alcohol and cigars are legally served aside one another—still exists.
Carved out of the back of Carnegie Hall by Mark Grossich's Hospitality Holdings Group in 1996, The Carnegie Club has been serving cigar enthusiasts ever since. Thanks to an exemption, the club managed to survive Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s infamous workplace smoking ban that was passed in 2003, and it now represents the upper-echelon of establishments that can legally mix drink and smoke.
Recently, the club’s interior underwent a series of upgrades by New York design house Goodman and Charlton. All new furniture, tables, carpets, wallpaper, window treatments and artwork have breathed new life into the space, which can accommodate around 150 guests. While the theme of The Carnegie Club still remains something like an 18th century Gothic library, three new flat-screen televisions as well as a new sound system have been added, giving the club a pleasantly distinct lounge feel.
The club makes good use of these new televisions and speakers, using them for football games and boxing matches, plus to augment the live musical acts it books so patrons can watch from anywhere in the space—a good idea, given the 25-foot tall ceilings and large mezzanine area situated above the main floor. Every Friday, a rotating list of jazz musicians plays the club. Sinatra Saturdays with Steve Maglio, an interpreter of Ol’ Blue Eyes’ music, is also a popular ticket.
The club has also worked with area retailer Davidoff to ramp up its cigar menu, which includes cigars from brands like Padrón (both 1926 and 1964 Series), La Flor Dominicana, Davidoff, Alec Bradley, Ashton, Nestor Miranda, Romeo y Julieta and even a house blend. While the club marks up the prices of its cigars significantly, it will waive the $10 cutting fee for any smoker who brings in a cigar with a sales receipt from an area retailer (Davidoff and De La Concha being the closest). It’s tough, though, to put a price on the cost to freely smoke in a public bar.
Carnegie Club also offers an extensive drinks list. In addition to wine by the glass, the club carries an impressive array of brandies, Scotches, Bourbons, rums and beers. Additionally, a cocktail menu that includes classics like the Churchill, Mojito and Sazerac, among others, are available, along with a number of specialities specially prepared by the club.
If you’re in the mood for an elegant night out, or simply want to spite Mr. Bloomberg and revel in the freedom of smoking in a public bar, remember The Carnegie Club, one of the city’s finest smoking establishments.
The Carnegie Club
156 West 56th Street
New York, NY 10019
Reservations are welcome
Monday to Friday: 2 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Saturday: 4 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Sundays: 4 p.m. - 1 a.m.