You read the name right. Turn back the clock to enjoy a smoke from owner Bruce Rothenberg’s collection of pre-embargo Cubans. Purchase any of those vintage Cubans and you’ll get a complimentary pour of rum. Looking for something contemporary? Their small selection includes some of today’s most popular brands as well. The shop is located in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel and the small smoking room (it seats about three) overlooks San Francisco streets with the occasional pass-ing trolley. Upgrade your wardrobe while you’re here. Vendetta’s also got a selection of fine men’s wear — including cufflinks, belts, pens, and more.
When it seems like places that embrace cigar and pipe smoking are in short supply, this shop near the north end of Richardson Bay, just minutes from Muir Woods National Monument, is the perfect place for you to join fellow puffing rebels for a smoke.Their walk-in humidor’s 20,000 cigars include an abundance of the industry’s top brands, and their knowledgeable staff will help you wade through that selection. For $700 a year, Telford’s offers a private members-only lounge with complimentary Wi-Fi, overstuffed chairs, and flat-screen TVs.
You’ll find it nearly impossible not to relax and enjoy yourself here. Aside from their selection of premium cigars, the shop offers both an indoor and an outdoor seating area. Bring your own bottle, and relax outside by their fire pit, where you might find hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill nearby. Inside there are two lounges, one public and one private, and complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the building. Ten bucks gets you a day’s access to the private lounge, where you’ll find a pool table, dartboard, and more flat-screen TVs. The private lounge can be rented for small gatherings for a five-hour rate of $250. Coffee and tea are available as well, making this a pretty good place to get your after-breakfast cigar.
Oakland can sometimes feel like a bustling city, but The Piedmont Tobacconist — on the corner of Glen and Piedmont — is a quaint escape from that urban pace. As you walk in, you’re surrounded by tobacciana in what looks like your favorite uncle’s man cave. The walk-in humidor is small, but packed with many familiar names, includ-ing Punch, Fuente, and Tatuaje. There is a small seating area (it fits about three) right outside the humidor. The shop also features an extensive collection of cigar accessories, pipes, and pipe tobacco. If you have an appetite, you’re in luck. Piedmont Avenue is littered with cafés and other eateries within walking distance of the store.
Los Gatos is among one of the swankiest semi-private lounges we’ve come across while put-ting these travel guides together (“semi-private” meaning that you can access the lounge with a day pass rather than needing to have a long-term membership). There are also some tables out by the sidewalk where you can enjoy your stogie. The club is a perfect escape for a smoke after a hard day’s work, and you’ll find a diverse cast of characters doing just that here on any given night. Access to the lounge will cost you just $10, though they have annual memberships that might be a better value for locals. It’s an even better value when you consider they’ve got a BYOB policy and the American bistro next door (which is actually called Nick’s Next Door) will deliver right to the lounge.
On the outskirts of San Jose and Santa Clara lies Club Havana Premium Cigars ( just minutes from Cupertino, which is home to Apple’s headquar-ters). The shop is lined with cabinet humidors, totaling more shelf space than some walk-ins, full of the industry’s top brands, so you’ll find some-thing that works for you. Once you’ve picked out your stogie, head to the lounge area in the back of the shop and kick back in their comfortable leather chairs. The smoking area is big enough to seat seven comfortably. There are cigar tasting events almost weekly, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to drop by for special deals. Stop in if you’re in need of a quick gift. Aside from tobacco products and accessories, Club Havana also carried some pretty cool bar items.
Pronounced oh-LOW-nee, the name is a reference to one of the area’s native tribes. It’s a simple but comfortable lounge where the staff and owners are not only informed themselves, but also make it a priority to educate smokers on the products in the humidor, be it in one-on-one interactions or through the blind tastings they host every month for members of their “HERF Club.”
Since 1994, Lil’ Havana has been serving smokers in Vacaville (which sits just east of Napa), filling every cigar lover’s needs from cigars to accessories and more. Their shop features a walk-in humidor, humidified member lockers, and a leather-furnished, Wi-Fi equipped lounge. Lil’ Havana offers the perfect escape from your hectic work week far away from the sounds and sights of San Francisco.
California has such a rich history with wine that it was only a matter of time before wine and cigar culture collided. At Morgan Hill in South County (just south of San Jose) you’ll find an ever-expanding selection of cigars ready to be paired with different wines, champagnes, and craft beers. Notable brands featured include Ashton, Drew Estate, Montecristo, and Tatuaje to name a few. Wine is available to be purchased by the bottle or by the glass at the bar in the rear of the shop. Up front, there’s a small lounge area where you can enjoy your favorite smoke and pairing. There’s always some kind of event going on (not that a cigar and wine night isn’t enough of an event), whether it’s their monthly poker night or wine tastings.
More than just a cigar shop, Danville Cigar caters not only to cigar smokers, but also to lovers of wine and chocolate. As a Davidoff appointed merchant, their selection of Davidoff, AVO, the Griffin, and Zino is remarkable. There’s an outdoor seating area that can accommodate about 25 smokers. While there, you can also enjoy wine (by the glass or bottle) and confections from Lula’s Choco-lates, a chocolatier based in nearby Monterey. If you venture east of San Francisco on the Sinclair Freeway, stopping here is a must.
Upon walking into Humidor on Battery Street, you are greeted by an impressive collection of luxury humidors on your right, and a barrage of pipes and pipe tobacco. In the rear of the shop is a gor-geous walk-in humidor with its own street view. Their location on Chestnut St. in the busy Ma-rina District offers a smaller selection than the Battery store, but still has a good variety. This is the closest premium cigar seller to the Golden Gate Bridge.
275 Battery St. #1
2050 Chestnut St.
As the oldest tobacco shop in San Jose, Mission Pipe Shop is a good bet for an elite level of exper-tise. The shop’s modest size belies its great selec-tion and the fact that they’ve got a comfortable lounge area. If you’re looking for a change of pace, try out Mission’s custom blended pipe tobaccos. If you’re in the neighborhood during the summer months, call to ask for the date of their Annual BBQ and Cigar Tasting. There’s always great food and at least one special cigar industry guest on hand.
This small shop has a prime location on Market Street, at about the point where the Tenderloin and Financial Districts meet. The small shop features a variety of premium tobacco offerings, not limited to cigars. This is a great store to drop in on for cigars and a bottle to pair them with. Outside the walk-in humidor, the store is packed with beer, wine and spirits. If you’re feeling like a local beer, smoke one of your shorter purchases during the 20-minute walk to the 21st Amendment Brewery (just a couple of blocks from the San Francisco Giants’ home stadium, AT&T Park), where you can try their seasonal beers or any of their three year-round IPAs.
Dean's Fine Cigars
715 Market St.