From the elaborate selection process to the ritual of its clipping and lighting, smoking a cigar in itself is an art form. A mastered drag of the tip and a series of eloquent puffs produce thick, seductive clouds of smoke. The orange glow of tobacco sizzles with each rolling between the fingers. A dramatic head of ash pays testament to the passing of time. Smoking a cigar is an elegant indulgence, and those who know this know that a cigar cannot merely be smoked in the home, or in the street. Like all art forms, its pursuit must be conducted in exclusive locations, precisely, the cigar bar.

A nod to the classic gentlemen’s club, cigar bars have evolved from being small homes for messily stacked humidors, to being safe havens for lovers of the craft. Think, dark wooden bookshelves lined with literary classics; big, chocolate and dark emerald sofas; staggering armchairs with carved crystal ashtrays by their sides. Often paired with jazz music, a glass of single malt whisky, and a fine oil painting, Bangkok has long been a popular location to sample some of the world’s most renowned hand-rolled cigar brands. From art galleries to hidden entries, have a look at some of our favourite Bangkok cigar bars to consider the next time you want to light up a vintage Cuban in the city.

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1
La Casa del Habano

Between tropical prints and elegant bamboo furniture, the British colonial style La Casa del Habano was the first official retailer of Habanos cigars in Thailand. Located inside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel with a connecting door to the famed Bamboo Bar, the refined cigar divan is small, yet exudes that timeless sense of luxury and old world charm for which the hotel is so revered. With an exquisite selection of over 300 Cuban cigars and 80 different kinds of rare liquor in stock, it’s easy to see why the iconic lounge overlooking the Chao Phraya river proves an excellent spot to indulge in a world class cigar experience in opulent surroundings.

La Casa del Habano, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 48 Oriental Avenue, Bangkok 10500, +662 267 1596

2
DUKE Contemporary Art Space at Gaysorn

Part cigar bar, part art gallery, and part whisky bar, there’s something of a speakeasy about DUKE — a creative and contemporary space that is quickly becoming the Bangkok cigar aficionado’s new best-kept secret. Between warm leather sofas and wafts of whisky, cigar aroma, and imaginative conversation, DUKE brings together many of life’s pleasures, be they to smoke, to drink, or to inspire. Whilst the exhibition space and bar are open to all, the cigar bar also offers yearly memberships and hidden rooms where guests can access the bar via a private entrance and enjoy a Cuban Cohiba or a Dominican Cusano in utmost exclusivity, and in the most artful company.

DUKE, 999 Phloen Chit Rd., F/1, Gaysorn Village, Lumpini, Bangkok, +6694 647 8888

3
Whisgars

As its witty name already reveals, Whisgars is a combination of whisky and cigar bar, and yet whilst the impressive single malt collection is sure to woo any an avid scotch drinker, it is the smoker’s selection here that really puts Whisgars on the cigar lover’s map. As non-Cuban cigars are becoming more prominent in the Asian market, it’s an ideal location to sample premium hand-rolled exclusives inside the walk-in humidor, hailing from the likes of Nicaragua, Honduras, or the Dominican Republic. With a live jazz band playing four times a week, it’s both an engaging yet relaxed atmosphere for finally trying out the all-new medium-bodied and spicy Gurkha Marquesa, or the robust and smooth Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne Noir Robusto.

Whisgars, 16 Soi Sukhumvit 23, Khlong Toei Nuea, Bangkok, +662 664 4252 ; 981 Silom Rd., Bang Rak, Bangkok, +662 630 1997

4
Character Whisky & Cigar Bar

Inspired by the Orient Express train, Character Whisky & Cigar Bar offers guests a warm environment to enjoy a fine and rarified selection of over 100 hand-rolled Nicaraguan, Brazilian, Dominican, Honduran, Columbian, Ecuadorian, and, of course, Cuban cigars. Between trunk tables and red velvet drapery, Character provides a tranquil atmosphere for cigar connoisseurs and beginners alike to sit back and enjoy American jazz tunes and a playback of black and white Hollywood movies between puffs.  With two branches inside the Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel and Compass Sky View Hotel, the bar is relatively new, yet already proving very popular.

Character Whisky & Cigar Bar, Anantara Siam Hotel, 155 Rajadamri Rd., Pathumwan, Bangkok, +662 254 4726; Compass Sky View Hotel, 12 Sukhumvit Soi 24, Bangkok, +662 011 1133

5
Cigar One

In stark contrast to the often dark and mysterious traditional cigar bars, Cigar One sits inside an unmissable crystal-shaped building at the Glasshouse@Sindhorn. Light and airy, the space prides itself in being a relaxed after-dinner unwind destination. Whilst there is a fine selection of whisky on the menu, Cigar One is best known for the cocktails offered alongside its cigar list. Renowned and widely respected barman Sompong Boonsri mixes the drinks here, with creative locally-inspired concoctions such as a Thai-Jito or Tom Yam Martini. Pair this with the extensive cigar selection from the Romeo y Julieta Romeo de Luxe to the Davidoff Special R Tubos 20s, and you’ve got yourself a beautifully diverse evening, with cigars from South America, and complements from Bangkok.

Cigar One, 130 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok, +66 2 650 9994

Lisa Gries
Managing Editor, Bangkok
Lisa loves to travel, and is always on the lookout for the world’s best nap spots. She’s a serious Asian art history nerd, and has a knack for languages and coffee table books. She hopes to publish her own novels one day, one of which will likely be called ‘All The Great Conversations I Had In A Bangkok Speakeasy.’ It’s a work in progress.