Light Up: 8 Portland Bars to Enjoy Cigars Indoors
During summer months, Portland cigar lovers have no shortage of great bars with wide-open patios where they can ignite a stogie. When the winter brings the cold and rain, however, options dry up. Oregon’s smoking ban required nearly every bar to go smokefree in 2009 and made it essentially impossible to open new cigar bars. Fortunately, a few indoor places remain where smokers can gather to light up their cigars — though not pipes or cigarettes — and have a good drink with friends without feeling like social outcasts.
El Gaucho: This is the kind of old school steakhouse where the servers wear tuxedos and Bananas Foster isn’t just a dessert, it’s a production. Even more old school is the smoking lounge in back, where one can enjoy the decadence of grilled meat with a cigar or simply relax with a glass of rum or whiskey. Be sure to check out the cocktail menu too, which offers a frequently rotating list of classics and originals from bar manager Mark Joseph
(319 SW Broadway; 503-227-8794).
Kells: At street-level, this bar is a lively Irish pub that often features live music. Hidden away downstairs is the cigar room, where the pace is a little slower. Open until late night and offering an extensive menu of whiskeys, the Kells cigar room is a great place to escape the frenzied nightlife in this part of Southwest Portland (112 SW 2nd Ave.; 503-227-4057).
The Mark: The Shilo Inn hotels are secret hideaways for in-the-know cigar lovers in Portland. Driving by the one on Canyon Road, one would never guess that it houses one of the city’s most comfortable cigar bars. The spacious upstairs lounge offers craft beer on tap, wine and a selection of sipping spirits, along with numerous televisions tuned in to sports (9900 SW Canyon Rd.; 503-889-1145).
Shilo Inn Suites Hotel: Located across town near the airport, the Shilo Inn Suites blends in with the many other hotels catering to business travelers — but only this one has a cigar lounge. Small and cozy, it’s the perfect place to settle in with Scotch and a cigar on the far East Side (11707 NE Airport Way; 503-252-7500).
Greater Trumps: The rest of Portland’s cigar bars are found in outposts of McMenamins, the eclectic group of properties that combine unique spaces with McMenamins’ own brand of beer, wine and spirits. Greater Trumps is nestled behind the company’s Bagdad Theater, just off busy Hawthorne Boulevard in southwest. This small space is a great spot to have a pint of McMenamin’s beer or a glass of whiskey while smoking a cigar (1520 SE 37th Ave.; 503-235-4530).
Detention Bar: Being in detention was never this much fun. McMenamins renovated the abandoned Kennedy School, built in 1915, and transformed it into a very cool space featuring guest rooms, bars, a restaurant, a movie theater and even a brewery. Cigar smokers will want to migrate to Detention, where troublemakers are allowed to light up without getting slapped on the wrist (5736 NE 33rd Ave.; 503-249-3983).
Little Red Shed: If you make it out this far, you’re not really in Portland anymore. Nonetheless, McMenamin’s scenic Edgefield property is worth a visit. Among the amenities is the Little Red Shed bar. Large enough for only 10 people or so, it’s a welcome escape from the elements when the weather isn’t conducive to lighting up outdoors (2126 SW Halsey St., Troutdale; 503-669-8610).
Pat’s Corner: One final cigar sanctuary is located out in Forest Grove at the McMenamins Grand Lodge, where Pat’s Corner offers cigar smokers a place to relax. Other attractions include the Ironwork Grill, Doctor’s Office bar and game room, a spa and disc golf (3505 Pacific Ave., Forest Grove; 503-922-9533).