One of the nicest things about having a local cigar shop to call home is the camaraderie. Imagine the well known scene from cheers as Norm walks through the door and all of the regular patrons call out his name in welcome. It isn’t quite that rowdy when you walk into Sir Stogies but everyone knows one another and it is always a good time.
A few weeks ago I walked through the door, said hello, and took a seat around the card table. It is rarely used for cards but it has become the spot where guys sit around and shoot the shit while getting away from the noise of the nearby television set.
When I sat down, I was immediately asked if I was interested in taking part in a Cigar Crawl. The plan was to rent a passenger van and spend the day visiting local cigar shops. Not only would it benefit the local B&M’s, it was also a chance to get out and try some new cigars. It didn’t take much convincing and I was signed up.
The Cigar Crawl
A few days prior to the Cigar Crawl I stopped over at Sir Stogies. I needed to get out of the house for a little bit and a cigar and adult beverage sounded like a great idea. While sitting around the familiar card table, we got to talking about the Crawl.
The route had been set and a 15 Passenger Van had been reserved. We would be meeting at Sir Stogies at 9:30am for a 10:00am departure. Our first stop would be at Top Shelf Cigars. From there we would shoot over to JM Cigars, then to Cigar Cigars (Formerly Light’n Up), and our last stop would be Suburban Tavern before heading back to the home base.
Visiting four shops in a day doesn’t sound like much but when you factor in drive time, time in the humidor, and time to smoke your cigar, you spend a fair amount of time in each location. The fair amount of time which got me information on the personal injury attorney Winter Park, who were being used by one of the shop owners whom I met today.
First Cigar of the Day
Being a morning person, I was up and ready long before our scheduled meeting time. In fact, I had a little plan of my own. Being a member of the Sir Stogies Private Lounge, I get access from 9:00am until Midnight.
My plan was to light up a Room 101 Payback Robusto, in my driveway, at 8:45am. I’d shoot down to the local WaWa and pick up a breakfast sandwich and a cup of coffee. By the time I got to the shop, it would be 9:00am and I’d be ready to sit down and kick off my morning.
I won’t bore you with a plumbing disaster story that took place that morning but I will say this, I refused to let it ruin my day. Things didn’t go according to plan but my ass was in a seat at Sir Stogies at 9:00am with a cigar and cup of coffee to kick things off right.
Shortly after my arrival at the shop a couple of other members arrived with the same idea. Before long the lounge was filled with the aroma of cigar smoke and coffee. When 9:30am rolled around everyone had arrived and we began loading up our non-smoking rental van.
By about 10:00am twelve of us (armed with backpacks and coolers) wedged ourselves into the van, made lots of jokes about bottoming out the suspension, and were on our way.
Top Shelf Cigars
Our very first stop of the day was scheduled to be Top Shelf Cigars in Skippack, Pennsylvania. Despite not having been there in years, it is still one of my absolute favorite cigar shops. It is owned by Jim Cronin, who has one hell of a palate. Jim’s store is pretty small, with very limited seating, but his selection is impressive.
When we arrived at around 10:00am we were greeted with coffee, bagels, and a surprise deal (Buy Any 3 Cigars – Get 1 Free) that no one could pass up. We all wound our way through the store, picked up a few sticks, and settled down outside on the patio (is was a beautiful day).
Precisely at Noon, a bottle of bourbon was opened up and passed around. We smoked, we laughed, we talked, and everyone had a good time. I was very impressed by the way Jim treated us all. He didn’t have to get us coffee and bagels and he certainly didn’t have to give us any special deals. We came out to support his shop, expecting nothing but a good time, and he returned the favor.
There are many good things to be said about each of the shops we visited that day but Jim and Top Shelf Cigars gets credit for being the most gracious host.
Full of energy (and some booze) we left Top Shelf and made our way over to Exton to visit JM Cigars. I hadn’t been there in years but was eager to see how the selection had grown in their robust humidor. As we all piled out of the van, a guy getting out of his car to go shopping made a joke about how it looked like the familiar clown car scene in cartoons.
We made our way across the parking lot, into JM Cigars, and entered the humidor in a long single file line. I made my way around the humidor about three times and hadn’t chosen a cigar yet. There were plenty of cigars I hadn’t tried but nothing was calling my name. Jay, one of the Sir Stogies regulars, recommended the Long Live the King and several of us picked one up to try.
A few minutes later our long line went from the humidor, to the cash register, and then to the lounge. We hunkered in and began watching Shawshank Redemption while sipping on booze and carrying on. JM Cigars was a fun stop along the way and provided me with my most memorable smoke of the day. I was so impressed that I picked up another on my way out (as well as a The King is Dead).
After leaving JM Cigars we were in dire need of food. Most of us had a quick breakfast and were three cigars into the day with nothing left in our stomachs. We decided to hit up a local pizza joint nearby and take the food to Cigar Cigars (Formerly Light’n Up).
Once the queasiness had passed we formed a line and began our usual conga line through the humidor. Much like JM Cigars, there were plenty of interesting cigars on the shelves but nothing was calling my name. I wound up going with a Curivari Reserva Limitada (which I enjoyed a few years back) and a few of the guys followed suit.
Working on our forth cigar of the day with a belly full of pizza and booze, this is where things began to wind down. As we sat there watching the remainder of Shawshank Redemption, I felt my eyelids begin to get very heavy.
I got up and walked around a bit, had some caffeine, and finished off my cigar in the hopes of catching a second wind. We spent about two hours in Cigar Cigars before piling back into the van and continuing on with our Cigar Crawl.
Suburban Tavern is a restaurant on the main floor with a cigar shop and lounge on the second floor (the cigar shop is a separate business, run by the same individual, that came much later). The plan from the very beginning was to make this our last stop so that we could all sit down for dinner then cap off the night with a cigar.
Dinner was a lot of fun as we all cracked jokes back and forth. The waitress even got in on it as she poked a little fun at one of the guys in our party (they were laying into him all day about being short – “Did they card Dan when he came in?” “Do you have a booster seat for this guy?” “Hey, Dan’s feet don’t touch the floor back here, you should see him swinging his legs!”.
Once upstairs we formed our line and entered the humidor. The humidor in Suburban Tavern isn’t very big and many of us were trying to squeeze through to get a closer look at the variety on the shelves. I settled on a Drew Estatle Liga L40 and found a seat in the lounge.
While there I bumped into a couple of old friends from my Kensington Tobacconist days. It was fun to catch up and hear all about which of the guys were still getting together each week and which ones moved on to other shops.
By about 10:00pm we piled back into the van and made our way back to Sir Stogies. It was a long day, and a lot of fun, but I was glad for it to be over. I contemplated going inside for a final cigar but 5 in one day was plenty for me.
Eagerly Awaiting the Next Sir Stogies Cigar Crawl
Everyone that attended the Sir Stogies Cigar Crawl had a great time and seemed eager to do it again. As nice as it was to visit different shops, there was one thing that stood out in my mind. That was simply, there is no place like your home shop.
Sir Stogies may not keep up with the latest and greatest cigars and sometimes the hours aren’t ideal but it is a space I’ve come to know and love. Tim and Sandy go to great lengths to make sure their customers are comfortable and have a pleasant experience each and every time they walk through the door.
As excited as I am to go on another road trip with the guys, one thing will never change. At the end of the day I’m glad we are going back to Sir Stogies. It has become our little place to escape the stresses of everyday life and enjoy fine cigars and conversation. I’m proud to call Sir Stogies my home away from home and look forward to many more years of patronage.