The Stogie Guys have the scoop on a private cigar club opening soon in Alexandria, VA, in the wake of the state’s smoking ban:
[...] CXIII Rex will have all the amenities of traditional cigar lounges, including a well-stocked walk-in humidor, a selection of top libations and small-batch wines, ample seating, wireless internet, private humidor lockers, and the like. But this club, slated to open in late March, will also feature more luxurious accommodations. Included will be a state-of-the-art air ventilation system, an access-only elevator, an all-female wait staff, and a private cigar blend crafted by none other than Rocky Patel. [...]
Individual memberships, as you might expect from a club of this caliber, are not inexpensive. The cost is $5,000 to join CXIII Rex and $100 each month thereafter. Franco and Noe tell me that 200 slots are available, with 160 already claimed for. If, like me, this is above your price range, or if you reside outside the Washington metro area, you still have to appreciate the high attention to detail and passion that’s going in to creating a premier cigar lounge. I haven’t seen anything like it before.
Some of this sounds great, some of it a little gauche. (Is touting an all-female wait staff really necessary? It doesn’t exactly challenge the stereotype of the rich, male, self-important cigar smoker.) But what’s significant is that this business can exist at all. The Virginia smoking ban, as misguided as it is, at least allows for a market response. Dedicated lounges where smokers can congregate without offending others are free to open. This is in stark contrast to states like Oregon where the right to allow smoking in one’s bar is limited only to the favored few who happened to do so when a ban was passed.