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Name of Shop: Churchill’s Lounge
Date Visited: 06/30/09
Street Address: 40 North Street
Phone Number: 617-227-0750
Hours of Operation: M, T: 9 a.m. – Midnight; W, Th, F: 9 a.m. – 1 a.m.; Sa: 10 a.m. – 1 a.m.; Su: Noon – Midnight
Located in the Millenium Hotel, directly across from Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market: easy access, no parking. Accessible via MBTA’s Green and Orange Lines (Gov’t Center and/or Haymarket stations). Near enough to Boston’s night life to make it a good “last call” stop before heading home (Boston rolls up the sidewalks fairly early). A point of interest: the lounge shares space with the remnants of David P. Ehrlich, Tobacconist. Ehrlich, founded in 1868, is the second-oldest tobacco store in the US and has been owned by only two families, the Ehrlichs and, now, the Macdonalds.
Nice enough. It’s a bar; the bartender is your cigar guy. If you like bartenders, you’ll like Churchill’s. I like bartenders.
The claim to fame here is not the selection (which is average for a cigar store; awesome for a bar), but rather the fact that you can “smoke ’em if you got ’em!” Is this the last bar in Boston where one can light up? I think it’s down to Churchill’s and Cigar Masters*… So, I’ll take what they are offering! (You are free to bring your own but, really, that might be a bit… impolite, no? Buy at least one, you cheap buggers!). Walk-in humi; major brands. Also pipe-friendly with a more-or-less self-serve pipe tobacco area (Mmmm… “Judge’s Blend”) with, of course, complimentary test bowls. Plus: did I mention the bar (beer & wine)? Guinness, anyone?
Lounge: Above Average
Really, the rating should be “exceptional” in that, in the strictest sense, a smoking bar is now exceptional. Were one allowed to puff freely, the lounge would rate about average. It’s clean, it’s serviceable, it’s got a great view of Faneuil Hall (good for people watching). It’s a bit dim inside, but that makes for cozy, conspiratorial business dealings (if you can find a business partner willing to admit a penchant for Old Toby).
Overall Opinion: Exceptional
In another lifetime, Churchill’s would likely not rate so highly; but in today’s over-regulated nanny state, they are the rare survivor of a dying (and term-limited) industry (even Churchill’s personnel admit that their pipe tobacco business is on life support). I forget the exact date of extinction, but it is within the next few years that legislation will outright ban such establishments in Massachusetts. Get yours while you can! Bring friends! Don’t forget Wednesday is Board Game Night!
Gentlemen: good luck and Godspeed, for you are a dying breed.