Cigar 101: Cigar Lounge Etiquette

A guide on how to avoid being “that guy” at your local cigar lounge

The cigar lounge is a place for relaxation, a place for savoring a fine cigar with a dram of whiskey and a place to meet new people, make connections and enjoy some pleasant conversation.

The cigar lounge is also a place that comes with its own set of rules, by which all present should abide.

Here’s our guide to proper cigar lounge etiquette.

Cigar Lounge Etiquette: The Don’ts

1. Don’t talk politics or religion.

One of the best parts of the cigar lounge experience is the camaraderie that develops, even with complete strangers. You’re sharing a common experience and, most likely, will share similar interests as well.

A surefire way to ruin that dynamic and stink up the lounge even more than by lighting up a cigarette – N.B. don’t ever do that either – is to bring up politics or religion. Unless you’re with a very close knit group of friends who you know share your views, keep them to yourself and don’t even bring the subject up.

2. Don’t blow smoke in someone’s face.

We’re going to admit that this can sometimes be difficult. Depending on the air filtration system, air conditioning or ceiling fans, you can never be completely sure which way the wind is going to be blowing in the lounge.

Which is a long way of saying that it’s bound to happen unintentionally at some point. If it does, move to a different chair if one is available, angle yourself in such a way as to minimize it, or simply go out of your way to blow the smoke in a different direction.

3. Don’t judge others’ cigar choice.

With cigars, as with anything – wine, whiskey, women – taste is subjective. What one man loves, another may find repulsive. And in the case of whiskey or wine, price is not necessarily an indicator of quality.

When a man chooses a cigar, he’s choosing one based on his tastes and what he knows he’s going to like right then and there in that particular situation. If it’s a Rocky Patel Edge and not a Padron 1964 Family Reserve 50 Year Anniversary, that’s totally fine. Who is anyone to judge?

4. Don’t ask to try someone else’s cigar.

Chris, Rob and I have a funny story of an encounter we had with two strangers who approached us once mid-herf. One gentleman – and I use that term loosely – gesturing to one of our cigars, asked if he could “hit that”. His more educated comrade said scoldingly, “Damn, you don’t smoke another man’s cigar! What’s wrong with you?!” and then proceeded to smack him upside the head.

Exactly. Once you light up a cigar, it’s a personal experience. If you’re curious about how it tastes, ask your buddy to describe it. And then if it sounds intriguing, buy one for yourself. This isn’t passing the dessert around at dinner with friends. This is cigar smoking.

5. Don’t be a mooch.

This applies to mooching cigars off of your friends as well as pouring more than your fair share of someone else’s whiskey. In general, guys have no problem sharing a cigar or pour of liquor from time to time, but we all know that person who always seems to have forgotten a cigar or didn’t bring his own bottle. Don’t be that guy.

6. Don’t stamp out your cigar in the ashtray.

Like the proper way of holding a cigar, the way you end the cigar smoking experience needs to be filled with respect. Nothing telegraphs that you’re a cigar noob more than stubbing your cigar out in the ashtray. You should always just set it down and let it go out on its own.

cigar lounge etiquette

Cigar Lounge Etiquette: The Do’s

7. Do offer your cutter and lighter.

This one speaks for itself. However, if you’re on the receiving end of someone else’s cutter and lighter, be sure to return them to their owner promptly after use.

8. Do offer your to share your whiskey with others.

Don’t bogart the Bulleit. Or Michter’s Or whatever else you may happen to have brought with you or keep in your locker. Bring only what you’re comfortable sharing because it you tote in that bottle of Pappy 23, you’re obligated to give everyone a taste!

9. Do ask politely to join an already-smoking group of strangers.

Maybe they’re a group of friends on an outing. Maybe they’re in a business meeting. Although many guys like to shoot the shit with whoever’s in the lounge, some may not want to and/or might be there for a specific purpose. You won’t know until you ask. Just be polite.

10. Relax and enjoy yourself.

That’s why you’re there, right?

Thanks for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style

Photography by Rob McIver Photo

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