Clay Pipe Cigar Bar, Mohegan Sun, Connecticut
Casinos have remained one of the last refuges of the cigar lover, and as one of the largest gaming resorts outside of Las Vegas, Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun always did brisk business from its well-stocked retail cigar store. In 2019 the casino expanded the store, doubling the size, and transforming it from a shop into a full-blown bar and cigar lounge—just in time to shut for the pandemic. The new Clay Pipe was shuttered for two years, but reopened in its current glory in mid-summer 2022, and is going strong.
The shop has two halves, each with an entrance. To the left is the original shop, a triangular room ringed on all three sides with floor-to-ceiling glass display humidors. These feature slanted shelves and there is plenty of space, with an emphasis on displaying the wares, which at last count included more than 70 cigar brands. All staff are trained to assist beginners and provide advice and cigar and drink pairing recommendations. Macanudo Inspirado White Label, Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur, Fuente, Punch and CAO Flathead are among the best sellers, and the shop says every order of Fuente Fuente OpusX sells out immediately to a cadre of regulars, some of whom keep lockers here.
The second room, to the right, contains the bar, a trapezoidal affair, behind which are walls of exposed brick hung with multiple flat screens. These are usually tuned to sports, and because the lounge is open all day on weekends, college and pro football and basketball games are especially busy times. Whiskies (Bourbon, rye, Scotch and Japanese), Cognac and craft beer are the top sellers, but the emphasis is on brown spirits as the Mohegan has one of the state’s most comprehensive private barrel programs, with its own alcohol warehouse supplying nearly 50 bars and restaurants within the vast resort. Mohegan launched with a private cask bottling of Patron Reposado Tequila, but now has a slate of these one-of-a-kind options, including half a dozen Bourbons (Angel’s Envy, Bulleit, Breckenridge, Elijah Craig, Knob Creek and Puncher’s Chance), as well as Knob Creek rye and Cruzan rum, with several more casks on the way including Weller Full Proof, Eagle Rare and EH Taylor whiskies.
There is a wide, doorless opening in the brick wall between the rooms, creating an open floorplan flow and feel of spaciousness, and both s are furnished with an assortment of deep, tempting, padded leather couches and armchairs. The main retail room also has several small square tables, perfect for date night conversation or a game of dominoes. A limited selection of gourmet bar snacks are served throughout, and both are very clubby and welcoming, well adorned with multiple signs reminding visitors that despite the name, the lounge is for “cigar smoking only.”
The Clay Pipe Cigar Bar sits alongside the showpiece waterfall in the retail and dining corridor just outside the entrance to the Sky Casino, one of the two gaming centers at the resort, near the popular Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse. It is also at the main access point to the resort’s 10,000-seat arena and performance venue, which attracts big name musicians from Bruce Springsteen to Carrie Underwood as well as marquee sporting events. The enviable location makes the Clay Pipe extremely popular before and after fights, concerts and special events, such as the big NCAA Division One college basketball game. In addition, management tries to host a special event with a cigar company every five to six weeks, and these are listed on the resort website as well as promoted to members of the frequent gaming club and throughout the property.
Clay Pipe Cigar Bar
Mohegan Sun Casino
1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard
Uncasville, CT 06382
Open Wednesday: 5 pm to 12 am
Thursday: 5 pm to 1 am
Friday: 5 pm to 2 am
Saturday: 11 am to 2 am
Sunday: 11 am to 1 am
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