Monday, July 06, 2009

a sad day for ck

Well, it's the end of an era in the Old City as well as my life. A place I've come to love is shutting down. It's not news to most of you since Knoxnews broke it a few weeks ago. Even Jack Neely wrote a lovely little eulogy for it last week. What is this place arouses so much furor?

The Knoxville Cigar Company.

Few places in this city offer a place to get out of the house, sit down, and really relax. Not in a perched on a bar stool drinking too much beer talking loudly to friends over the band relaxing (which is needed sometimes too) but a comfortable leather chair reading The Economist blowing smoke rings in the afternoon sunlight listening to jazz kind of relaxing.

Knox Cigar has been a fixture in the Old City since the 90s, surviving the bust of the original Centennial revitalization well into the current upswing. I first got into fine tobacco after college, and found the shop one happy evening while walking through town. Back then they only sold tobacco, but after a few years they moved a few doors down and opened bigger shop with a conjoined bar. Now one could have a Boddington's with his afternoon smoke. So much the better.

There were missteps on how the new venture was set up, but seeing the shop and bar full of people every night assured me things must be alright. Apparently they weren't. Even though the owners would have you believe the current economy is the cause of the closing, word on the street is that the business was run into the ground. I suppose that one can do whatever one wants with one's business ventures, but this just seems like a stupid waste to me.

Luckily, management issues aside, there is a demand for a fine tobacco establishment in Downtown. Down in Knox Cigar's old shop space a sign has gone up. "Old City Cigar Coming Soon." The venerable Smokin' Joe's (on Papermill) is trying its hand in the downtown market. As some of you may know, Joe's is a converted gas station with a good selection but short on atmosphere (as in none). We'll see if they can set up a more sophisticated business with the je ne sais quoi to make it work. Also in the wings is another tobacco shop venture which I'm not at liberty to write about here right now, but if it moves forward you'll likely find me down there on sunny afternoons. Here's hoping.

Well, Knoxville Cigar, thanks for the memories. Thanks for teaching me to slow down and smell the cigar smoke. I'll miss ya.


Mackey said...

Wish I had visited before they closed. Damn, now I feel bad.

The Pol said...

it's ok ck.

we'll get through this...together.

max said...

dang man. i really enjoyed their beer selection.

the upstairs bar reminds me of an old 20s mafia hangout. if i was in a secret society i would totally host my meetings there.

Robert said...

jeeze pol ... at least try and hide it a little.

Ethan said...

this continues to make me so sad...

Wright said...

I'm going to miss their sign.

B said...

i didn't hang out there much at all but always liked its presence in the old city. wish it could have made it.

Anonymous said...

Smokin' Joe's here.

Yes, we are opening "Old City Cigar" next month.

While Papermill is a converted gas station it has served us well. We are actually moving the Papermill store this coming year to a much larger building around the same location. Our Alcoa store features a huge humidor and smokin lounge, we want something like that in knoxville.

As far as the old city, We are going to have two lounges, one much larger then the other. A few T.V.'s, free wi-fi and a selection of cigars that I think will shock a lot of people. We plan on "Old City Cigar" opening this August.

I just came across this blog, I am enjoying it. Nicely done.

Smokin' Joe's