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Name of Shop: Leavitt & Peirce
Date Visited: 06/01/09
Street Address: 1316 Massachusetts Ave
Phone Number: (617) 547-0576
Hours of Operation: Mon – Sat 9:00-6:00; Thu until 8:00; Sundays 12:00-5:30
Website: NONE! (and a shame, I tell you)
Right there in Harvard Square, across from Harvard Yard (yes, there really is such a place), within yards of the MBTA’s Red Line (Harvard Square station).
Staff: Above Average
Very friendly, reasonably knowledgeable, helpful and patient. But rather (not knocking it)… young. The youth is not so problematic per se but the lack of experience might be. Yes, there is an older, official-looking woman (the proprietor?) with great reserves of knowledge, but she is there less often than the regular, twenty-something staff.
Stock: Above Average (but with surprises)
In my somewhat limited experience, Leavitt & Peirce (and please note the non-standard but correct spelling!) has about what other higher-end shoppes have in terms of cigar selection, or perhaps a bit less. That is, certainly more than most Mom-and-Pop-and-Massachusetts-Lottery shops, but a bit less than G-Street, Peretti’s, or even perhaps your local Cigar Emporium. They seem to cater more to the spendy gift-and-tourist crowd than either the business or collegiate folks (with the exception of an, um, “healthy” selection of roll-your-own tobacco and supplies).
That said: L&P has a couple of ringers that should draw you again and again. First: they are one of the last surviving outlets for David P. Ehrlich pipe tobacco (his Tremont Street shop now a pawn, er, “collectibles” storefront). Also, lots of man-type giftees: a gentlemanly selection of figurines, wooden board games, and other old-timey curios, plus high-end shaving gear, soaps, scents (think Geo. F. Trumper, Caswell-Massey and Pinaud Clubman) pens, lighters, etc. (think sterling silver or gold fill). Their accessories for men are top notch and, if not unique, at least uncommon.
Cigar prices seem a bit higher than comparable stores, but one must take into account the location (Harvard Square), the clientele (tourists & students & other ne’er-do-wells) and, of course, the rarity of their non-cigar stock. Also, I am not above spending a little extra to keep a bit of history alive.
No lounge in the store, but Harvard Square is right outside! They do, however, have an upstairs gaming area (chess anyone?).
Overall Opinion: Above Average
A great place to visit but, if you are not a pipe smoker (and a lover of Ehrlich), then you will likely not need to visit often. That said, if you live in Harvard Square–and jonesing for a smoke–where else you gonna go?