The Best Cigar Stores in Toronto
The best cigar stores in Toronto are in somewhat shorter supply these days on account of the fact that the last great cigar craze peaked somewhere between grunge and the end of the first dotcom boom. At the time, Toronto still had corner stores with humidors and old-fashioned tobacconists, but they were joined by an explosion of upscale cigar bars with walk-in humidors and big selections for men (and a few women) who wanted to live large, in a black-and-white movie kind of way. Some of the stores on this list date from this time, but they're all survivors, selling big wands of premium tobacco in a hostile world.
Successive financial crises might have had something to do with the waning of the cigar craze, but it was really done in by anti-smoking by-laws that made it impossible to enjoy a cigar anywhere but on your own porch, or in a room designed solely for the purpose, away from the public gaze (or respiration). More than not, Toronto's cigar stores can be found either near the city's business towers or in neighbourhoods with solid real estate values, which says all you need to know about who smokes cigars these days. Serious smokers will know where to find them; the curious will need a guide.
Here are the best cigar stores in Toronto.
The Smokin' Cigar recently moved a block south on Bayview to new, bigger digs with a sidewalk patio for enjoying what you've bought in the open air. There's a wall of humidors for sale, some at very reasonable prices, and a glass-walled walk-in humidor of epic proportions - the biggest in the city, the third largest in Canada. This makes for an epic selection of cigars, Cuban and non-Cuban, including their best-selling house brand, made in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
The grand old man of cigar stores has been open for four decades now in the Yorkville area, selling a wide selection of premium cigars for the last twenty-five of them in its dark, woody, creaky store on Cumberland. It has a clubhouse feel, with wingback armchairs and photos all over the walls, and does a great business with the hotel trade, thanks to its seven days a week business hours.
The only cigar manufacturer left in the city, Correnti is a legacy of a time when cigar smoke was the Axe body spray of its day. Down an alley behind King West's club and restaurant strip, Correnti's is up a set up stairs and back about a century, to a long, dim room where, at a small group of tables, cigars are hand rolled by a few of the tiny number of people who still have the skill. Made from imported Cuban leaf, Correnti cigars range in price from under ten bucks to around sixty.
Opened in 1996, Cigar Studio owner Jerry says that the vast majority of his clientele lives within a 10 minute drive of his shop, which is also surrounded by five of the city's best golf courses. He has a house brand that sells for under 10 bucks, as well as the Cuban, Honduran and Dominican smokes that drive the business - brands like Montecristo and Macanudo - as well as a reasonably prices selection of humidors and other accessories that you'll need if the odd stogie becomes a habit.
Open for over 20 years in and around Yorkville, Casa del Habano - as its name infers - specializes in Cuban cigars, which it currently sells out of a sleek basement storefront with a few cafe tables out front to enjoy what you buy in the spring and summer. Like all of the cigar stores, it had to weather the effects of Bill 194, which banished smoking from most public places, but judging from the swanky minimal decor in its new location, it's still doing well selling everything from petit coronas for the smoker sneaking one on a balcony or patio to the Cohiba Behike at over a hundred bucks for the big celebration.
Opened in First Canadian Place in 1987 as Winston & Holmes (the new name is a pun on the original,) it was taken over by in 1999, who admit that it's a "phenomenal location" for a cigar store. In the heart of Bay Street's towers, it's convenient for the white collar worker on their way home or to the cottage, or on their way to the golf course where the owners say most big deals are closed - and celebratory cigars are smoked. You'll find the full range of Cuban and non-Cubans here, with personal storage for (store-bought) cigars for rent in their humidor.
Open since 1996, this little storefront on Yonge south of Bloor is a classic, no-nonsense tobacconist selling a decent range of stogies, including best-selling "easy smokes" like the Dominican Macanudo and the Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey. Also - hookahs! A huge selection of hookahs that the owner began selling a decade ago, ranging from $35 to five hundred bucks. Literally at the centre of the city, Metro's celebrity clientele includes Drake.
On Yonge Street just by the business district, Casablanca sells cigars alongside clocks, globes, crystal figurines and a whole lot of what we used to call head shop stuff. They rely on the local banks and towers for their clientele, but have been around long enough (11 years) to pull in regulars from as far away as Kitchener and London. The well-stocked humidor includes the usual suspects, but also features new cigar labels like Nub, CAO and Black Market that prove that, smoking laws aside, there's still growth in the cigar business.
The new kid on the block, Casa de Fuma opened in 2011 on a stretch of Yonge in North Toronto, and has already attracted a loyal clientele that, on a nice day, you'll find hanging out on the sidewalk outside the store. It's the kind of scene where you might be invited to admire someone vintage Jag or new BMW, and where the walk-in humidor is filled with the usual suspects - Cohiba Behikes, Partagas and Romeo y Julieta - as well as new brands like Paul Stulac, Alec Bradley and Quesada that owner Fawzi Asmar loves to promote.
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