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28-Aug-2008
Ceniza Cigar Lounge Offers Something for All

Sometimes it's a little difficult to tell what Ceniza Cigar Lounge is trying to be. The Web site presents images of beautiful women seductively holding cigars. Click on "news" and the first slide in a show has a pyramid, err, sandwiched in the ample cleavage of a woman wearing a tight top. Is this Hooters for the cigar aficionado?
Step into the large store and you'll find comfortable leather furniture in the front, more in line with a first class lounge at Heathrow. The humidor is well-stocked with premium smokes from Arturo Fuente to Zino. The private lounge for members is one in which you'd be very comfortable stopping by after lunch and checking email on the WiFi while enjoying a robusto. Indoors.
It's important to note here that Ceniza is in Pasadena, California, a city that, along with about 40 others in California, has largely banned smoking outdoors. In the open air. Something about secondhand smoke. Outdoors. Still, you can smoke inside at Ceniza and other tobacco shops in the city. The biggest impact on Ceniza has been to move cigar parties that used to be held outside to the inside, in a sort of commercial courtyard, part of a two-story galleria called Paseo Colorado.
Ceniza has its own cigar label, the Cartel. The blend is fairly potent. I tried the pyramid and it seemed a little young, but had potential. The lounge is also starting up a social network under the Cartel brand. Its slogan is "Where cigars are only the beginning."
The parties are a frequent occurrence at Ceniza. They feature the "Ceniza Girls." Their uniform seems to be black, tight fitting, curve accentuating, one-size-too-small, Lycra. There has actually been a "Hooters Event" featuring the women of Hooters. (Or was it the other way around?) There's usually great music at the parties and a lot of cigar smoking and drinking of great booze.
Ceniza offers one of the largest public cigar lounges in the Los Angeles area. The response of cigar businesses in California to the anti-smoking laws has been to create comfortable spaces inside of tobacco stores and Ceniza has gone above and beyond by paying attention to the details and pumping up the luxe. It's become known in some circles as a place that attracts the female smoker or the female in search of an affluent, male cigar lover.
You can make of Ceniza what you want. For me, Ceniza is more a way station, an oasis 50 miles into my frequent trips east from the Santa Monica Mountains to visit businesses and do "research" at lunch and dinner. It's a chance to visit with some of my favorite cigars and enjoy them while sipping an espresso. Basically, it's the 21st century version of "Floyd's Barbershop" by day. By night, the party starts.


Source: Cigar Aficionado