Coast-to-coast cigar bar Casa de Montecristo rolls out its debut D.C. lounge today, complete with craft cocktails designed to be paired with puffs.
Montecristo (1132 19th Street NW) is lined with glass temperature-controlled humidifiers housing its star product. Cigars are priced at $7-$50 each. Patrons can drop hundreds or more on a whole handcrafted box.
There’s some 700 hand-rolled varieties from brands like Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, Arturo Fuente, and Macanudo, alongside a lineup of for-sale smoking accessories and cutting tools. Montecristo regional manager Gaston Rousselot claims the new shop boasts the biggest selection in the area.
Montecristo is scheduled to open daily at 10 a.m. and will close at midnight on weekdays, at 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Montecristo’s opening fills a nicotine void in Dupont Circle’s suit-and-tie corridor. Before its closure in 2016, steakhouse chain Smith & Wollensky was frequently filled with smoke and real estate brokers closing the deal of the day. Montecristo slides into the space formerly occupied by Social Restaurant Group’s fire-themed Bonfire, which shuttered two years ago.
D.C. is already home to one longstanding cigar bar: downtown’s Shelly’s Backroom. Whiskey bar Jack Rose also allows cigar smoke on its rooftop. Until permits allow, Montecristo will only allow buyers to puff cigars on aqua-colored lounge seats on its covered patio. There’s also a small menu of bar bites.
The opening lineup of 8 cocktails ($13-$22) lists suggested cigar pairings for each. The boozy Sherlock’s Cocktail is filled with Macallan 12-year whiskey and Brugal 1888 rum.
Cocktail by on Scribd
“Well” liquor includes Bombay Sapphire gin and Tito’s vodka. Dominican rums also have starring roles behind the bar. Some of the nine tap lines show local love (DC Brau and Right Proper), and there’s also Modelo and a black butte porter from Deschutes Brewery. The cocktail list was carved out by Jorge Buch Barzaga, who has a bar in Puerto Rico where many cigars are made.
Most of Montecristo’s 28 smoke lounges sit along traffic-heavy corridors like the Las Vegas strip and Midtown Manhattan, though one is 45 minutes north of Charlotte, North Carolina. Texas is home to six locations.
The latest location in D.C. features an upstairs VIP area. Gold status grants members access to cigar tastings, events, and cigar discounts. Platinum members get more perks like keys to their own cigar locker.
Wall prints showcase tobacco leaves. Dominican Republic’s La Romana farm employs thousands of artisans who hand roll Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, Trinidad, Vegafina, Por Larrañaga and Don Diego brands.
Montecristo was born in 1935, when Alonso Menendez purchased the Particulares cigar factory in Cuba. The name stems from the famous Alexandre Dumas novel “The Count of Monte Cristo,” which was said to be recited to “torcedores” (cigar rollers) on the rolling floor.
Status: Certified open. 1132 19th Street NW; website.