Where To Smoke: Napa Cigars, Napa, California
Somebody here has a sense of humor. You can see that right when you walk into Napa Cigars. There's a chalkboard in the front of the store that reads, "Number of people offended by Indian." The "Indian" is the typical wooden, cigar-store variety standing out front. The count was up to five offended persons. The other sign, behind the cash register, says, "Welcome to husband day care." Funny, maybe. Accurate? Well, my wife is off shopping and her husband is sitting with a Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano Robusto Fino in his hand.
Napa Cigars is in downtown Napa, the city, right there on 1st Street. It's a narrow store with a loft that has seats for more than a dozen visitors who want to relax with a great cigar and, perhaps, also a great glass of wine. Co-owner and store manager Eric Smaldino moved to Napa from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he managed a cigar store for five years.
"The best-selling cigars are those you'd expect," explains Smaldino. "Padrón, Ashton, Fuente. But, we also do well with brands like Tatuaje, Illusione and Sobremesa." Smaldino says his top-seller is the Arturo Fuente Double Chateau. "Golf course cigar," he explains. For the privilege of smoking in the store, Smaldino requests that you buy a cigar or pay $10.
Napa is indeed golf country, but it's also wine country, and Smaldino's shop offers more than 50 wines, including a lot of ports. Get a glass from $9 to $900. Yes, you read that correctly. Napa Cigars will sell you a glass of Ghost Horse Spectre for $900. The bottle? $4,000. It's 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Smaldino recommends you pair it with a Padrón Family Reserve 50 Years Natural (Cigar Aficionado's No. 5 Cigar of 2015).
Smaldino has an interesting pairing recommendation. Try a little Riesling with your cigar. He particularly likes MTGA Dry Riesling. MTGA is a Napa County vineyard that makes only a few cases of Riesling every year. Bottles are priced in the mid-$30 range. Napa Cigars also has beers by the bottle and some very comfortable chairs in which to sit and enjoy anything you'd like to drink with your cigar.
Napa Cigars opened in 2014. It was a welcome addition after the iconic Baker Street Downtown closed. The city of Napa often gets overlooked because of the more celebrated attractions a bit to the north. If, however, you're in need of some cigars and maybe the need to know what lesser-known great wines are available, a stop at Napa Cigars could prove worthwhile.
"We want Napa Cigars to be your neighborhood tobacconist," Smaldino said. And maybe wine guide, too?
1147 1st Street
Napa, CA 94559
Open Monday: noon to 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday through Saturday: noon to 10:30 p.m.
Sunday: noon to 6:00 p.m.