Monday, February 18, 2008

Cigar Bar OPEN!


Those of you who read here may have picked up on quite a few references to the Knoxville Cigar Company. Most of the writers here are known to frequent this Old City establishment, which recently moved a few doors down on Central St. The new shop is very cool (with more seating and a walk-in humidor) but what we've all been waiting for is a new component to the shop: the cigar bar.

Right next door to the cigar shop, the new bar opened up on Thursday and was in full swing this weekend. You can't miss it- a neon marquee-style sign that you can see from two blocks away marks the spot. You enter the bar through the rear of the cigar shop, giving it a certain speakeasy feel. The front half towards the street is basically a swanky lounge, with dark leather seats and tables. It's a nice change from the hard booths and bar stools most places have. In the back, a wrap-around granite bar with dark custom woodwork dominates. The overall effect is dim and smoky (in other words, just right).

They seem to be going for the high-end crowd emphasizing their fine liquor, not beer, selection. Most of the beer on tap is British (Boddington's is a nice touch) and a fairly large bottle selection in the coolers. But the main thing here is the cigar smoker's choice drink: scotch. The guys working there said there are 50 types of single-malt scotch offered. Its easy to believe, as the entire center section of shelves was dedicated to scotch bottles. The bartender said that they probably wouldn't have a happy hour (boo!) but would run specials on different scotches to encourage people to try them out.

I liked the place a lot. It was comfortable enough to hang out and read a book by the afternoon sunlight (as I did) or to gather a group around one of the big tables for a late night discussion. The Old City seems to be drifting away from being the college party spot to an adult (not that kind of adult) night scene in downtown. The Knoxville Cigar Co. bar is a harbinger of this [new?] Old City, which I think is confirmed by the imminent opening of the Crown and Goose pub across the street. Of course there will still be sports bars and dives in the Old City, but now a real mix is happening- a night life that reflects Knoxville's intriguing contrasts. The new cigar bar is sure to become the cornerstone of this scene.

Rating: 9 out of 10 Wigs on the Wig-o-meter

4 comments:

em said...

yay scotch!!

stan said...

so, do they have a scotch list? i went to a place once that had so many different brands of scotch that the menu listed them by region. like wine, but they were regions in scotland. i wanted to go there often so that i could 'visit' the different regions. why limit yourself only to one?

ck said...

they have a complete list sitting at the bar. no regions, though...

Chris said...

It's great to hear of another cigar bar popping up!

We just launched a new website called www.CigarPlaces.com. It's a map that lists cigar-friendly restaurants and lounges, and allows people to add their favorite spots so others can find them.

I just added Knoxville Cigar Company to the map. If you know of any other good spots, please check out the site and add them!