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English Market Selection

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Comfort in a Cold Climate

Comfort in a Cold Climate

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You’d be forgiven for thinking no-one bothers to smoke cigars in public places any more.

You’d be wrong.

Although many of us do most of our smoking at home – whether in the luxury of the living room, or the less personable surroundings of the garage or even garden shed – there are still places in public where cigar smokers are welcome. You just have to do a little work to find them.

The Cigar Smoker’s Club saves you plenty of shoe leather, for a start. With its ever-expanding list of Comfortable Outdoor Smoking Areas (COSAs), you have a great nationwide database to kickstart the process.

I think we should be quite clear about what we’re after here; not a soggy bench with a parasol, or a windblown chair tucked round the corner of the pub. To enjoy a decent-sized cigar, with all its charms and complexities, we need to be comfortable. And the foremost pre-requisite to comfort outdoors is warmth.

In the summer, there’s nowhere better for smoking al fresco than the UK. But for the rest of the year, it’s normally far too chilly to venture outdoors unguarded. So, many pubs, bars and restaurants have now installed heating devices and shelters to defeat the cold. These tend to vary from pathetic waste of times to rip-roaring, sweat inducing Carbon-releasing monsters. The ideal is a heat lamp that is both directional and close enough to your table to make a difference. With careful siting, these can be so warm, you can smoke in short sleeves on a frosty night. Believe me, I know.

Next on the comfort list is shelter. No point taking your Montecristo No 2 into a rainstorm. A roof or suitably sized covering is a must, and side windbreaks too in my opinion. A huge part of the pleasure of cigar smoking for me is the sight and smell of blue smoke curling from my cigar. A wind tunnel somewhat negates this, so large windbreaks are the order of the day, although they still have to have to conform to the strict regulations of the 2007 ban.

The next step to securing that peaceful post-prandial smoke is direct contact. Call your prospective hostelry and make enquiries about provisions for – and most importantly, their attitude to – cigar smokers. Our passion for the leaf is nothing to be ashamed of, and if your enquiries are met with scant response or heaven forbid, disdain, wouldn’t you rather know before you hand your hard-earned over the counter?

Classy joints, on the other hand, will be more than happy to tell you of their efforts to make you comfortable, and will also happily sell you a well-kept stick to enjoy once you’re there, because they know food, wine and cigars are blissful bedfellows.

If all the above sounds to you like narrowing down a small pool of likely smoking places even more, you’d be right. But it will result in the COSAs we frequent being top notch, and mean others can rely on our recommendations, safe in the knowledge that a comfortable cigar is guaranteed, rather than dreamed about.

Our selection process will also serve another purpose; establishments will begin to notice what cigar smokers require, and savvy ones will go out of their way to cater for us. It could be the beginning of a new cigar renaissance that will result in comfortable, warm, wind and rainproof cigar shelters being as much part of a restaurant’s vision as the construction of its wine cellar or its ambience and décor.

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