The weather is almost always perfect. Maybe there’s a slight chill at night. The pro move is to sit on the terrace and look out at the Beverly Canon Gardens below. There might be a concert. There might just be some people milling about. You can even imagine you’re in some European resort. This is the new Cigar & Whiskey Lounge at the Maybourne Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.
This space used to be £10 at the Montage Hotel. The Montage left in the summer of 2020 and the Maybourne took over. The hotel rooms are being refurbished and the lounge has undergone a relatively modest makeover, and it’s so much better now. Enter the bar. The walls are dark wood and the small bar is lit up to showcase bottles and glassware. There are leather chairs and red-topped barstools. Step through onto the terrace to four seating areas, each sectioned off by curtains into its own space. The earth-toned sofas match the pale green fabric walls to create a serene environment. Each of the seating areas has vents above, meant to carry off the smoke from the cigar you’ve chosen to light up. The cigar selection is the biggest improvement to the lounge.
While the previous occupant had a respectable list of cigars and an excellent choice of libations, the new lounge has a stellar bar menu, and a superb cigar list. The latter, in large measure, is due to the Maybourne’s having partnered with a local cigar shop, V Cut, as the curator of its humidor. The humidor, with glass doors, is now built into the wall of the indoor bar space of the lounge, giving visitors an opportunity to see what they’d like to smoke. It holds 1,000 cigars “with 64 stick variations,” according to the Maybourne.
The humidor is stacked. Highlights include the Oliva Serie V Melanio in a Robusto ($30), Torpedo and Double Toro ($35 each). The Arturo Fuente Hemingway line is represented by the Classic ($35), Signature ($30), Short Story ($25) and Best Seller ($30). The Fuente family pantheon then moves on to the Don Carlos No. 2, Belicoso, Double Robusto and Presidente (from $26 to $35). If you’re getting the idea that this is going to be a relatively pricey experience, you’re right. The God of Fire line weighs in with four vitolas between $65 and $75 a stick, the Fuente Fuente OpusX Lost City Piramide $75.
Tatuaje, with its roots in Los Angeles, is well-represented here with the Cojonu 2003 ($35) and three others. Ashton offerings include the ESG 22 Year Salute Pyramid ($55), a cigar you almost never see in any cigar lounge (with the exception of the Ashton Cigar Bar in Philadelphia). Another almost-unicorn is the La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull ($60). Padróns are here too, including the Family Reserve No. 44, No. 46, No. 50 and No. 85 (from $65 to $80.) E.P. Carrillo’s two Cigar Aficionado Cigars of the Year are on the list, plus many others. Be sure to ask if there’s anything special that is not on the printed menu.
The requirement at the Cigar & Whiskey Lounge is that you must spend $50 per person, a hurdle you will clear very easily. There’s a $25 cutting fee if you want to smoke your own cigar.
Now you need to pair that cigar with a great drink. There’s a lot to choose from, including some spectacular hard-to-find spirits. The bar started off with 127 whiskies, among them 64 single malts, and is working its way up to 300. There are 11 house cocktails and 20 wines on the list. Single malts from the Scottish Highlands run from a Highland Park 12-Year Old ($18) to the Highland Park 1968 ($760 for a two-ounce pour). Islays range from the Bowmore 12-Year Old ($23) to the Laphroaig 27-Year Old ($165). The offerings from Speyside include a Macallan 40-Year Old ($1,260), one of several similarly high-high-end Macallans. Six of them simply have “PUR” listed as the price. It means “Price Upon Request.”
There are Japanese whiskies, such as Hibiki 17 ($145) and Yamazaki 18 ($195); Bourbon highlights include Michter’s 20-Year Old ($175), Old Rip Van Winkle 10-Year Old ($175) and Van Winkle “Special Reserve 12-Year Old” ($250). Rye from Kentucky, Vermont and New York are also available, as are Irish Whiskies and even Kavalan from Taiwan. Canadians seem to get token mention, and rum might be a little underrepresented. The Cognac list, on the other hand, offers guests the opportunity spend up to $1,200 on a glass of Hardy Perfection, which sells in liquor stores for about $9,000 a bottle.
The sum total of what the Maybourne Cigar & Whiskey Lounge has put together is an experience that is distinctive, and one that is difficult to match in the United States when it comes to enjoying a night out with only the best cigars and spirits. Perhaps the only quibble is that the gorgeous Italian Murano-glass cigar ashtrays are not the best object for resting your cigar, which is brought to you on a silver tray. Every table gets some nuts and Parmesan cheese cubes as a snack, but the food menu here is limited and maybe worthwhile only if you’re starving. Fortunately, the lounge will make every effort to accommodate any food requests you might have from one of its restaurants. (Go for pasta from The Terrace.)
The Maybourne Cigar & Whiskey Lounge becomes one of four places in Beverly Hills (including the private Grand Havana Room) where one can smoke a cigar. And it just might be among the three best in the country.
Cigar & Whiskey Lounge at The Maybourne Hotel
225 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA
Closed Sunday & Monday
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 5pm to 12am