Where To Smoke: Boyd’s Tobacco & Elegant Gifts, Paso Robles, California

Where To Smoke: Boyd’s Tobacco & Elegant Gifts, Paso Robles, California

Among California's premier attractions is wine country, chiefly the valleys of Napa and Sonoma. These two regions are the most popular for wine-loving tourists, but tucked between Los Angeles and Napa is Paso Robles, home to more than 200 wineries and the heart of the Central Coast wine area. Over the years, Central Coast wines have gained fame and presence on wine lists all over California and better lists outside the state.

If the grapes weren't reason enough to stop in Paso Robles, let me tempt you with Boyd's Tobacco & Elegant Gifts. Boyd's sits on the main drag, Spring Street, in an unassuming strip mall. Walk in and you'll see a small, stand-up humidor featuring Ashton cigars. Walk farther into the store and you'll note the "elegant gifts," featuring a wall of crystal wine glasses and decanters. Boyd's has a very well-stocked humidor, with more than 200 brands that include Bolivar, Casa Magna, Diamond Crown, La Flor Dominicana, My Father, Oliva, Padrón, Rocky Patel, San Lotano and Zino. Generally, there's something new every month. Buy a cigar or two and you could be invited to enjoy them next door in the otherwise private lounge.

Boyd's Tobacco and Elegant Gifts

The annual membership is $480, which gives you use of one of the 18 lockers and a 10 percent discount on cigars. There's also a $50 monthly membership available. If you buy one cigar and want to smoke it in the lounge, the charge is $5, but if you buy a few the store will usually waive the fee.

On my visit, I choose an Oliva Serie V Melanio Torpedo. I sit in an overstuffed chair in the lounge among the heads of stuffed animals that adorn the walls around the pool table. There's a dart board, the usual TVs, and the ceiling fan has blades that look like tobacco leaves, plus a kitchen where monthly dinners, mostly fundraising events, are prepared. The dinners benefiting the local food bank usually feature one cigar and one wine.

Boyd's Tobacco and Elegant Gifts

This trip, I was on business tasting wines for possible inclusion on restaurant lists. I was on my way to Sonoma and took advantage of the way station in between to stop in Paso Robles and sample some great Barbera and Sangiovese wines. Beautiful vineyards graced my view on a hot day that cooled as the sun set. Time for dinner, then a cigar by the fire pit at the hotel, or maybe it's still early enough to get back to Boyd's and shoot some pool?

Boyd's Tobacco & Elegant Gifts
625 Spring Street
Paso Robles, CA
805-239-8701
http://www.boydstobaccoandelegantgifts.com
Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.