Beautiful Paris! As the city of romance and love, this pillar of world society needs no further introduction. As a lover of the leaf however, one can run into some trouble here looking for the perfect place to enjoy a cigar during their vacation in the city of lights. Fear not my fellow cigar lover, I have just the place for you, Gentlemen 1919! On a vacation with my family, I had the good fortune of being turned on to this fabulous establishment by the great Guillaume Tesson, fellow writer and lover of the leaf. Once I met co-owner Antoine Drieu, I knew I was in the Paris branch of the worldwide brotherhood of cigar smokers! Along with the other co-owner, Maxime Simonneau, a very tight ship is run here at 1919 with an abundance of good cigar vibes!
ONE OF THE TOP 5 LOUNGES ON EARTH
Gentlemen 1919 has been voted as one of the top 5 cigar lounges on Earth by this very publication, Cigar Journal! The award was bestowed upon Antoine and Maxime at The 2019 InterTabac Trade Show in Dortmund as voted on by the readers. When you take into account everything that this place has to offer, you can easily understand the award.
One great assets of Gentlemen 1919 is its location. Located in the 8th Arrondissement (district) just 2 blocks North of the world-famous Champs Elysees, 1919 is a superb location to sneak away from the world while your loved ones are shopping out in the Elysian Fields avenue of commerce. Sure there are other establishments that offer libations in the area, but there isn’t one that hits on all cylinders like this. The term “sneak away” makes a nice transition to the next dimension of 1919.
CONCEPT AND DESIGN
With the layout of a Chicago Speakeasy from the prohibition era, instantly the patron finds himself in what can best be described as a fun and festive environment. From the street, 1919 looks like a barber shop with the barber shop pole spinning outside so that passers-by know where to go for a cut and a shave. Upon entering the shop, the patron walks into the barber shop with spinning chairs and friendly faces with scissors and buzzers trimming the local clientele. Keep walking and you’ll find yourself walking through a narrow passage that ultimately leads to the bar in the back. On the way to the bar, the clandestine bathroom or WC lies behind the movable wall on the left. The bar in the back goes the length of room until you get to the very back of the business, and that’s where you will find the smoking lounge. There is also a cellar in which you can smoke as well. The back lounge and the cellar are the only 2 parts of the establishment where a cigar can be smoked. The cellar has televisions and somewhat of a sports theme. The cellar can also be rented out for large parties for a small fee.
THOSE PESKY FRENCH LAWS
The land of Henris and Louies has some issues when it comes to the leaf. In addition to France being a beautiful perpetual celebration of life, there are also some elements of French existence that are not so savory. One of those is the French government’s war on cigars. The French laws on what a cigar lounge can be are like nothing of what this writer has ever heard. A cigar lounge can only render 20% of its floor space to being a smoking area. And if a shop owner tries to combat this by purchasing a larger property for a larger smoking space, they are inhibited by the fact that there is a 40 square meters maximum smoking space allowed regardless of the size of the shop. Supposedly no one is allowed to smoke cigarettes inside a restaurant in Paris, but this writer witnessed many people pushing that envelope and smoking the cigs in the covered patio areas of the sidewalk cafes. Having said this, a cigar is not permitted to be smoked anywhere near a café or restaurant. If you don’t have 1919 nearby, your best bet is just walking around the city with one lit. Been there, done that…highly recommended!
THE GOODS WITHIN
There are lockers available, but unlike many places in the US, they can only be used for liquor that is purchased in-store. There is a decent variety of food available as well. Some delicacies that can please the palate include truffles focaccia, a plethora of French cheeses and meats, hot dogs and the occasional beef tartar. A tremendous selection of Scotch whiskey is available from The Scotch malt whisky society. From whiskeys titled “Complex and Facinating” to “Mysteriously, Marvellously Multifaceted “ I’m sure every kind of whiskey drinker that walks through the doors finds something they can enjoy! Most of the cigars available are from Cuba, since this region accounts for almost half of what is consumed at 1919. The rest of the humidor is made up of smokes from Nicaragua and The Dominican Republic among other cigar-producing countries.
LA VIE EN ROSE
Although this was my 3rd time to Paris, I definitely saw more of the city this time than I ever had before. I must say that 1919 is in my top 3 list of sights that I saw in Paris! The Louvre is too big, Sacre Cœur was cool, but a far hike, but 1919 is just perfect! As one of the coolest places in Paris (I still like the Eiffel Tower more however…it is so beautiful!), 1919 deserves a visit from anyone reading this article. Feel free to bring the family since there is absolutely no smoke, except for in the 2 smoking areas. My kids chilled with a Sprite, a pizza and wifi while my wife and I enjoyed a couple of beers from one of the newest microbreweries in Paris, La Parisenne (That should give you a hint as to how cool this place is!). We recharged our batteries and enjoyed the ambiance of this beautiful store before we returned to the streets of Paris. One must make this a part of their trip to see Paris correctly and enjoy life in pink!
Address: 11 Rue Jean Mermoz
Food available: yes
Cigars for sale: yes
Alcoholic drinks available: yes