Once upon a time in America a man could sit down with complete strangers and set aside the cares of the world.

Some men were CEOs, others were blue collar workers, and some of us were students. All were welcome and status did not matter.

Even women were welcome, and in fact the sight of a woman smoking a cigar was seen as a unicorn.

In the cigar lounge there was a certain brotherhood. Some even called it the “brotherhood of the leaf.”

I smoked cigars with Axl Rose and helped David Arquette choose the best cigars for his home humidor. In a cigar lounge, no one is a celebrity or rich guy. Everyone was equal.

I fell out of the cigar scene as smoking restrictions became more severe.

In an effort to protect workers’ health, California enacted various draconian smoking bans. No one would be allowed to smoke indoors, even if the employees had no issues with inhaling second-hand cigar smoke. (I happen to enjoy it!)

Even owners were prohibited from working around cigars. In a nation of obese people, you’d think we’d have bigger issues to address than cigar lounges.

Some of us viewed attacks on cigar lounges as a broader attack on masculinity. Men would go to the lounge to “get away from it all,” to kick our feet up in peace and quiet.

I’ve re-discovered my love of cigars in Saigon.

Like many Americans, I’ve learned the “communist countries” my government told me to fear offer more freedom than the land of the free and home of the brave.

My two favorite cigar lounges in Saigon are SIQAR and the Saigon Cigar Club.

As any cigar aficionado knows, there are more counterfeit Cuban cigars circulating than there are authentic ones. It was thus of paramount importance for me to interview the owners of the respective cigar lounges.

Last week I had a detailed discussion about cigar sources and counterfeits with the owner of the Saigon Cigar Club.

Today I had the pleasure to discuss cigars with the owners of SIQAR and can confirm their cigars are authentic. They order from a reliable source and unboxed a sealed box of Cohiba Behike, two of which I enjoyed.

(FYI, I don’t do sponsored posts or talk to anyone before reviewing their establishment. This is entirely unpaid.)

Drinking a Vietnamese milk coffee while writing and smoking.

milk coffee vietnam cigars

“A cigar oughtt not to be smoked solely with the mouth, but with the hand, the eyes, and with the Spirit.” – Zino Davidoff

A cigar is smoked with the soul

A fresh box of Cohiba Behike at SIQAR in Saigon.

Cohiba Behike Saigon SIQAR

SIQAR’s humidor is well stocked with a selection of Dominican cigars like Fuente and Padron as well as Cuban cigars.

SIQAR humidor Saigon Cuban cigars

The Saigon Cigar Club has a full selection of whisky and Cuban cigars.

whiskey and Cuban Cigars

Women are welcome at cigar lounges, too.

Cigars and women in Saigon Vietnam

One life. Enjoy!

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For more information, check out SIQAR on Facebook and the Saigon Cigar Club’s website.

Do you smoke cigars?

If so, what’s your favorite cigar?

26 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not much of a cigar guy, but one of my favorite places to go when I lived in Fresno was a seedy hookah lounge. Love to order a couple of huge plates of Lebanese food and share apple hookah with friends for a few hours.

  2. Mike,

    I love a good cigar. Probably why I named my detective series “Cigars and Legs” (“Cigars and Tits” doesn’t flow as well!) I’ve not yet smoked a Cuban, but I really dig the Montecristo’s available here, as well as Cuesta Rey. I’m not hugely brand loyal, though — CAO, Cohiba, I’ve got some of a lot of different brands in the humidor.

    I love to pair it with a good Scotch or other whisk(e)y, but they go with lots of stuff. What’s your preferred drink with a cigar?

  3. Cigars really are a pleasure to enjoy – in the right place and in the right company. It’s amazing how many interesting people I’ve met, how many friends I’ve made, and how many crazy good times I’ve had just from sharing a cigar among strangers.

    My absolute favorite is a Cuban Romeo y Julieta Churchill. Although, I haven’t tried a Partagas yet…

  4. The best cigar I ever smoked was a Dominican Romeo Y Julieta over a bon fire with my father and grandfather. Cigars really are a mans past time. Mike you’re the man, love the post

    Best Regards

  5. Thank you for this post Mike – I certainly understand the appeal of cigars a lot more now. Previously, in my mind, I had them linked with cigarettes – a vice I’ve never been able to understand.

    I also did a bit more research and learned about how they are rolled from five leaves, and take years to grow and make.

    Are you perhaps able to recommend a “beginners” cigar?

    • I’ll chime in here as a moderately experienced cigar smoker-Arturo Fuente is what I started on. Well-known and well-respected brand with a wide range of cigars. Don’t hesitate to ask the cigar shop owner or employees! They’re incredibly knowledgable and love nothing more than helping new people get into the hobby. Cheers.

  6. 2 quick corrections, if I may.

    Zino Davidoff, not Zion

    Padron is Nicaraguan

    Love the article. Cigar lounges are one of the few remaining places men from all walks of life will hang out together. Most other places you hang out (country club, business club, family activity) are going to have men mostly like you.

  7. For me I dont smoke anything all that much but if I were to smoke I prefer good California hydro weed over cigars. Real Cubans are awesome and pair well with red wine or whiskey on the rocks. But think what all that acid does to your ph levels. As for Cigarettes they aren’t even an option IMO- too gross.

  8. Hey Mike,
    I was looking at the old D&P archives man and Im almost 33 now man. You wrote a lot about game.

    I never saw this issue discussed-
    What age you think is a cut off for most men to game girls in their 20s?

    Have you know Guys with ok careers at older ages still gaming prime 20 somethings?

    Your of Russian extraction- do FSU. Countries 20 something girls still date and bang guys if they’re older as Lon as their responsible and take care of the girls?

  9. I am still a proper n00b with cigars, i usually buy the packages with 4-6 different brands. Enjoy it a lot, incredible relaxing together with a glass of whisky and a friend – or alone. I cant really make out the different flavours yet, but they taste different for sure.

  10. Just ordered a few cigars for my 20th coming up. Mild and medium just to start out. Looking forward to trying it out!

  11. By no means am I any kind of authority or expert on cigars Prior to last year, I was a once-a-year cigar guy; now I’m a once or twice a month guy. The last one I had was a Montecristo White Label, which I’d never had before, but which I am really looking forward to having again. Very smooth.

  12. By no means am I any kind of authority or expert on cigars. Prior to last year, I was a once-a-year cigar guy; now I’m a once or twice a month guy. The last one I had was a Montecristo White Label, which I’d never had before, but which I am really looking forward to having again. Very smooth.

  13. Hey Mike!

    Glad you’re enjoying your time. Really hit a spot when you said, “Like many Americans, I’ve learned the “communist countries” my government told me to fear offer more freedom than the land of the free and home of the brave.” As each day passes, I am experiencing more and more freedom. With more freedom, I’ve been able to slowly absorb the abundance mentality compared to when I was in the States working a nice-tidy white collar job. It’s strange! Going on my 18th month here and I don’t know when I’ll be returning to the US (to live). Leaving the system/laid-out plan (aka: the American rat-race) is easily the best decision of my life so far. Well, actually, I might just be living the American Dream abroad. Thanks to you, B&D, and the book Think and Grow Rich for reinforcing my idea to get free.

    I hope one day we can cross paths along with Vic @ B&D.

    Cheers and best regards,

    Sunny

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