Where To Smoke: Caña Rum Bar, Downtown Los Angeles
- April 12, 2016 |
- By Alejandro Benes
"What grows together, goes together." A cliché? Yes. True? For the most part. I mean, I'm not fond of mango with cigars, but coffee and rum (especially) pair well with the artisanal creations made from the tobacco leaves in Latin America.
So, it's no big surprise that the beverage menu available at Caña Rum Bar in downtown Los Angeles has the right companions for your favorite smokes. More to the point, Caña has a room where you can enjoy your cigar and any of more than 250 rums.
Caña Rum Bar fulfills another great criterion for success: location. Just a little more than a block away from the Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Kings, Clippers and Lakers. The large, pink neon sign beckons from what looks like a loading dock. At the door, you'll be greeted and asked under what name the reservation has been made. If you're not already a member, you can join for $20 a year (you can take along up to seven guests). There is no charge for taking your own cigars to smoke.
On this night, the crowd was mostly local downtown residents and crawlers. Some shot pool at the table in the front of the main bar. Most crowded the bar itself and tapped hands or feet to the Afro-Cuban music being played by a live trio. A good number carried the rum-and-coconut-water cocktail served in a coconut that you could, if you wanted, then scrape out and eat the white flesh. Probably wiser to order Caña's version of the Cuban sandwich, sold out on this evening.
About 20 minutes after the game, the bar is starting to show more patrons with the vintage purple-and-gold sweaters of the Kings. These are the cigar smokers, come to enjoy the proximity of Caña Rum Bar to home ice.
At Caña, the smoking room is in the back and has only a few seats, but a lot of room to lean on tables or walls. There's a tidy little fireplace as well. Caña Rum Bar is another of the several places in Los Angeles that keeps the roof unfinished in at least part of the establishment so that the room is technically "open air." This is the loophole that makes the smoking restrictions somewhat less than draconian.
The house cigar is made by Garo, a company based in Glendale, California, with a factory in the Dominican Republic. There are three versions that come in various sizes: Adamas ($19), Edición Limitada ($22) and Maduro ($24). Now, in the autumn of 2018, Caña has significantly expanded its cigar menu to include larger, more well-known brands. Among the new, not inexpensive, offerings are an Asylum 13 Robusto, listed at $15; Alec Bradley Tempus Centuria, a Churchill at $18; Joya (de Nicaragua) Red Cañonazo, a Corona Gorda, $15; Oliva Serie V Double Robusto $18; Macanudo Inspirado Orange $18; Alec Bradley Tempus Centuria a Churchill, $18; Rocky Patel Vintage '03, a Churchill at $22; a local LA Tatuaje Verocu No.2, a Corona Gorda at $23; the always elegant Panetela from La Flor Dominicana Ligero, at $26; as well as a Padron 1926 No.2, at $34.
I already had a Padrón Family Reserve No. 46 Maduro going and was enjoying it thoroughly with the numerous samples of rum that Caña's manager, Erbin Garcia, was generously pouring. Among the better tastings was the Angostura Cask Collection No. 1 from Trinidad, which Garcia said is a favorite at Caña. We tasted the Abuelo Seven Year Old from Panama and kept touring the Caribbean basin by next sipping an all pot-still rum from Guyana called The Rum Society, Product No. 65. On Tuesday nights (check to make sure it hasn't changed), Caña brings in a rum expert associated with a company to hold a tasting for guests.
Now that the Kings and Clippers are in the playoffs again, fans will need a place to light up after games—either to celebrate, or drown their sorrows.
Caña Rum Bar
714 W. Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA
Monday through Saturday: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Sunday: 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.