Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cigar Smoking in London. Where, please?

By Gary Korb

This morning I found the following email waiting for me:

We are going to London at the end of this month. I keep hearing about a smoking ban (with a few exceptions). As a three-a-dayer, I was planning on taking thirty Famous cigars with me. Am I wasting my time (and cigars)? Could you give me a general idea of the ban? It's hard enough to keep track of the bans here. Thanks. – Bill M.

Having never been to London (don't get around much anymore), I wasn't able to give Bill an answer based on my personal experience. We have posted several articles about the effects of the UK Smoking ban on CigarAdvisor.com, but not all that much on the ban itself. So I did a little research and came up with a few odds & ends that I thought would at least help put the situation into perspective.

According to a BBC News article published prior to July 2007, when the ban went into effect: "The ban covers virtually all enclosed public places including offices, factories, pubs and bars, but not outdoors or in private homes." The rest of the article was just mush about how much better life will be once the ban goes into effect, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I also found a recent blog by Cigar Aficionado editor, Gordon Mott, titled "Thoughts on the U.K." in which he talks about a friend's cigar smoking experience in London.

Frankly, I wish I knew more about the London smoking ban, but from what I could gather, the law seems pretty straight-forward. Moreover, from what I've read about enforcement of the ban, the Brits have torqued the screws down tight, but many pubs, particularly in the suburbs, are fighting back.

Merely as a presumption, I suggested to Bill that some London hotels may have designated smoking floors/rooms as they do here in The States, so he should check with his hotel first, but not to hold his breath. If the hotel has a good concierge, he or she should know where he could enjoy his cigars in peace.

Googling "London Cigar Bars" came up with a link at aficionado.org.uk that displays a list of cigar bars, hotels, and clubs. But the page warned that due to the new ban, they couldn't guarantee you'd still be able to smoke a cigar in any number of the spots on the list. The search term also came up with many direct links to the cigar bars, et. al., themselves, which might be more up-to-date.

Finally, I told Bill to bring his cigars anyway. My theory is, you never know where or when you'll find the opportunity to light-up, so you might as well be prepared. I also added he bring along some extra cash in case he found a cigar store, and might be obligated to purchase a stick in order to smoke, as Mr. Mott indicated in his blog. With the Euro being what it is, I added not to pick anything too "rare" unless he thought it was really worth it.

So now I'm reaching out to you. If anyone reading this has been to London recently and can shed any light on this subject, please leave a comment – and thanks.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

have not been to London recently myself but the UK has based its' "no smoking" laws on Irelands template.
I reside in Dublin and many of the bars (pubs) here have dedicated aresa for smoking. Surprisingly good in some establishments and virtually absent in others.
If you find a good one its' usually advertised as a "smoking" or "beer garden" and they are spacious, heated areas, protected from the elements.
Dont despair!

Anonymous said...

you can smoke if you buy a cigar at a number of shops in london, Casza del habano 100 wardour street and JJ fox 19 st james's street.... enjoy

CreekEnd UK said...

I live mainly along the Thames River area in the south east of England and have only rarely seen other 'cigar smokers' going around their daily business and am viewed as an excentric when smoking a large cigar in public.

The main reason touted for the smoke ban is to reduce the burdon on our free national health service due to smoke related illness like diabetes etc,etc.

What makes me laugh however, are the now obligitory canopes with blazing heaters outside our pubs and bars where smokers sit enjoying their choice of tobacco.
The heaters make a joke of the global warming arguement but create a social environment for us the Social Terrorists to relax and enjoy ourselves .

Its a case of look and see where you can smoke without annoying the Prols who prefer to suck_up the car exhaust fumes when pushing their children in carts along the streets.

Personally when smoking a fine cigar - cuban or non cuban I really am enjoying life too much to give a sh*t.

Roy.R
CreekEnd UK

Derek Seymour said...

Yep, it's tricky - and cold! I have been reduced to shuffling around a Putney park, in the dark ,like some kind of Dickensian villain. For some reason, the thought of moving to a warm tropical climate has suddenly become appealing! It's the stupidest fucking law ever. I mean not allowed to smoke in a bar where people are drinking themselves to death? Where is the logic in that? Has the whole world gone crazy?

Guy said...

In answer to your question aside from the correct previous answers of cigar shops, here are a few below, although I suspect I'm a little late.

Boisdales - Bishopsgate has a great alleyway, Belgravia has a lovely cigar terrace which is much more comfy.

10 Manchester Street Hotel - regular cigar events

There are plenty more which you can find here http://cigars.co.uk/where-to-smoke/map/london

Hope this helps!