Wednesday I was at Grants smoking with some of the regulars and on our way out I was talking to Mike about local places to smoke in Oakland, saying that as a rule there ARE none I could go to unless I brought my own smokes.
He turned me onto a new place that was supposedly having a grand opening Friday the 6th on 14th and Franklin that actually had a small room in the back to smoke at.
Today I popped in to Tobacco Road just to check it out. I met the owner’s son Marcus, walked into the humidor and found stuff at reasonable prices (Romeo y Julieta 6X54 Havana Reserve for $7.23 or thereabouts vs Grants same size stick at almost $9.) among other things. Marcus told me they had a room behind the humidor for smoking and showed me. I asked if I could ilght up and sit for a spell, he was cool with that.
So I lit up, and another older gentleman came in and was talking to Marcus. Before long we were all talking about other shps in the country and in California. Then Marcus’s mother Kathrine came in and greeted us. She’s the owner and a very relaxed, cool woman. With a background of real estate, a passion for family owned business and a desire to treat her clients right, she seems to have put together an honest business and given Oakland something it desperately needs: A smoking lounge without fear of the anti smoking police, need for hush hush conversation (ie I can talk about my fetish writing openly) and a cozy environment.
We talked for about an hour about her passion, plans for the shop and how we can grow the business from the cigar side. The front of teh store is clean but is basically a “cigarette shop” front but once you pass the front counter you’lls ee the walk in humidor, a few accesories on display and then down the hall come to the lounge.
Tonight I walked in and things were stil out of place as they were putting the finishing touches on things, but after about an hour I calleda friend of ine to come down and smoke with me. He picked up a Macanudo and a Hoyo De Monterrey at better prices than Beverages and More AND the cigars were fresh. MIke sat down in one of the large leather chairs, lit up and we takled for about an hour and a half before they closed.
The selection included Rocky Patel’s Edge and Edge Light, RyJ, Macanudo, H. Upman, Oliva, Sancho Panza and a few others. The humidor is not as large as Grants but Kathrine assured me that they’re ordering, expanding and going to carry more brands as they develope a loyal following.
The beauty is, like Grants I can bring in my own alcohol as long as I don’t act a fool. Meeting Kathrine and her son reminded me of when I first sat down at La Salle when it was still open when Roy Bird (formerly of the Harlem Globetrotters) welcomed my gf and I in to have a smoke and a drink. She’s not “old white man stuffy” but warm and friendly. And open to questions and ideas for helping the community.
I like that.
Friday the 6th is their grand opening party and they’re located at 417 14th St. ni Oaland just off 12th Street BART station. I’ll still frequent Grants because that’s comfortable and the cigar selection is larger, and the people really make it what it s, but this is closer and I can feel a warmth from it already.
Btw, for those interested, Tobacco Road has their own cuban seed brand of cigars that will be available for purchase at around $6 a stick. I have yet to smoke one but once I do, you’ll hear of it first, here!
I hope to see you all there sometime!