Wherever I go, I make it a point to find the local cigar B & M’s. Sometimes I hit pay dirt with the right mix of people , spirits and or course cigars. In my recent trip to San Francisco I found a unique place near where I was staying in the Union Square area.
It was early afternoon and had an engagement later in the day so my time would be limited. Using Google and Yelp I discovered the Occidental Cigar Club was only a 10 minute walk, so I was on my way.
When I arrived at the cigar bar there were no other patrons there and it felt like they just opened up. Still I ventured in , walked around a bit and spent a few minutes checking out their humidor.
There were popular well known blends such as Ashton, Arturo Fuente, Rocky Patel and Padron. The sticks looked like they were well cared for. The price point was bit on the high side but again, you are in a city which is the most expensive city to live in the USA. You are concerned that you are spending too much, you might have second thoughts. However, they have a great policy which allows you to bring in your own stash for only a $5 cutting fee for each cigar you light up. You cannot get more generous than that. I light up an Ashton, ordered a brew and took in the room.
It’s a small bar, narrow and dark, probably holding about 20 patrons. Very good beer and scotch selection, which I don’t know much about.
As I smoked, several people showed up and I struck up a conversation with two guys who also were ordering drinks and cigars. I made a cigar suggestion while I asked what brought them here. One fellow was from North Hollywood in LA and his friend was from Georgia, who was in the military. They were in town for dual purposes. To watch the Oakland Raiders and celebrate the solider’s bachelor bash.
That is what so great about cigar chat. You meet so many people with this common connection and the discussion can then get very broad on just about anything.
I also was able to hold a brief conversation with the barkeeper who one of the co owners of the bar.
She said the bar was open since 1992 and had a steady clientele of folks who both enjoyed both cigar and spirits. The bar would get quite crowded at night and she invited me back later but alas, I could not do it. Clearly on my next visit to SF, I will make it a point to head back to the Occidental Cigar Club.
I suggest you look at their website, take a further look at the Yelp reviews and I know you will be making this part of your trip. If you are a resident of SF, you are indeed lucky to have such a great place.
So my rating is :
Bar Scene: Incomplete, did not stay there long enough
Cigar Humidor: B+
Spirits selection: B+
I urge you to head to this great joint.