A man and his cigar lounge is a special relationship, particularly in New York City where you can no longer smoke indoors at most establishments. The mere existence of a cigar lounge thus harkens back to the days of yore when a man can slip on a suit, light up a cigar, and enjoy a scotch in the company of some good jazz.
Unfortunately most cigar lounges in New York City cater to finance douches (there, we said it). Many are based in midtown and descriptions accurately point out that they feel like an "Ivy League alumni club" for the "pinstripe-and-cuff-link variety." Not so at Velvet Cigars, the cigar lounge that New York is Ridiculous now officially endorses. While no dive it is a relaxed lounge where one can enjoy a smoke without feeling pretentious.
First things first: it's not huge. It's tiny actually. And the selection is also tiny. And they don't have alcohol.
So, you may wonder, why would we ever like it? Because of all those things. The size is just big enough for a dozen or fifteen people. It's not the sort of place that is packed so in other words it's not crowded, it's intimate. It's impossible to hang out there for a few hours without naturally meeting another patron who is enjoying a smoke and striking up a conversation.
The cigars are all excellent and are named after different parts of the East Village. I enjoyed an Astor the other day at the great rate of $6 per corona.
As for the alcohol they are a BYO place so we enjoyed good scotch by the bottle while smoking and hanging out. The service was excellent as well.
Velvet Cigars also gets bonus points for being directly across the street from NYiR's favorite bar: Blue & Gold. Velvet Cigars is located at 80 E. 7th between 1st and 2nd Ave. We'll see you there.