Smokey Joe’s Cigar Bar – #60 on the Tour

The Bar:  Smokey Joe’s Cigar Bar

The Address 373 Park Avenue

The Day and the TIme Sunday at 5:45

The price: It is of two prices. I went in, ordered my drink (it was a gin and tonic, if you were curious) and she poured it and then she asked for 4 dollars. This was surprising, because I figured this place was going to gouge, and here I was paying small change. I paid and started drinking (slowly, but more on that later) and then she came back and said, “its really eight bucks, but between 4 and 6 we have half priced drinks, so that’s why I charged you four. But its almost six and I didn’t want you surprised when you ordered another and got charged eight.” That was really nice of her, I must say. So the answer for price is 8 bucks, mostly, but come at the right time and its 4. Of course, the way she poured her drink, you don’t need a second one.

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime  No. She just put it in. I really like how that’s happening more often. I mean I look like a lime wedge kind of guy, they should just know.

What was the type of gin I think it was Tanqueray

What was the gin and tonic like Alcoholic. It was a hell of a lot of gin. She took out a pint glass, put in ice and then poured the gin. And kept on going. There was only an inch and a half of pint glass remaining before she stopped the gin bottle and squeezed in the small amount of tonic. It was a fine glass of gin, not a gin and tonic. And I was wobbly. There were diet cokes in my future. It was fine for what it was, but what it was was a hell of a lot of booze. As I valiantly had at the drink I thought of an open letter to bartenders. (which I wrote and I cut out of this post and will post it as its own)

The Joint It has signs outside declaring it as Rumors Night Club and Smokey Joes, and it has a giant phallic cigar sticking out from the building, menacing the people walking on Park Avenue. Inside, it is all cigar bar. They have a room where cigars are purchased, that was not opened or used the time I was there.  It is a good sized room with a few seating areas. By the windows are groups of leather chairs where people can sit, smoke and chat. In the center of the room in a large area where there are couches set up in a U shape. This area was taken up with gentlemen speaking Russian. The front area had a young-ish group of folk smoking and kibbitzing. Then there was a smallish bar. I sat there with a few others. They had hookahs but no one was using them at the time (does that make this my third Hookah bar of the tour?) The guy next to me had a pipe. Most everyone else was smoking their own packs of cigarettes.

Which brings up my ignorance about cigar bars in this new era of anti-smoking. When I first started going to bars, a quarter century ago, all bars were this cigarette centered. But times, they have changed. The only other cigar bar i have been to, which was quite some time ago, had a policy of charging you for smoking your own pack. I thought this was the norm. I guess this is not the case, for people were coming in here with their packs and smoking with no worries. No one was buying cigars, They were getting drinks and holding their packs for the world to see. I guess the high price of drinks is to pay for the priviledge of smoking and drinking. It’s like a natural wildlife preserve for smokers. The air filters did a decent job, I could see everything, nothing was hidden away through a fog of smoke, but I still left there with my clothes smelling of cigarette.

General Impressions If my question is, why do people go to certain bars, the answer to this one is easy. Because I can smoke my Newports here. There was a big age range here. Next to me were two older people, then young folk at the chairs upfront. The older woman near me was going on to her companion about how she wouldn’t use a hookah, doesn’t like them, doesn’t trust them. I’m with her.  Like I said, this has a feel of a last outpost, a stronghold of smokers fighting back against the tide of unwanted public opinion.  The bartender was good and friendly. She made strong drinks for everyone asking and even had to make an espresso. People greeted her with familiarity, this place has its regulars.

Amount of Time in the Joint 25 minutes (took a while to finish my drink)

Will I come back No. Not my place. We select the places we need, and I don’t need a bar I can smoke in. I don’t need to pay high prices for my drink for that opportunity. For those who do, I think its decent enough.

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