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Posted at 12:38 PM ET, 02/ 1/2007

Smoke 'Em if You Got 'Em

By Fritz Hahn

When Washington's smoking ban went into effect on January 2, it meant the end of cigarettes, cigars and hookahs in almost all bars, restaurants and nightclubs. However, there are exceptions: Any restaurant, bar or store that makes at least 10 percent of its profits from the sale of tobacco qualifies for a "conditional certificate" that allows patrons to light up. And ever since most bars and clubs went smoke-free, we've received a lot of questions from readers who want to have a cigarette at happy hour but don't know where to go.

It took a while, but I've finally received a list of all the bars and restaurants that will be receiving conditional certificates from the D.C. Department of Health. This is the official list as of Tuesday afternoon, so if you're puffing away indoors at any other establishment, it could be fined up to $1,000.

While the Department of Health's listings classify the businesses as cigar bars or hookah bars, spokeswoman Phillippa Mezile says that the limits aren't that rigid -- you can smoke cigarettes at a cigar bar, and cigar smokers may be able to light up at a hookah bar, for example, though it's always polite to ask first.

Cigar Bars

Shelly's Back Room
Shelly's has 100 private humidors for members (a minimum of $500 a year) and a glass-fronted case offering exotic cigars from the likes of Davidoff ($22.50-$29.50) and Zino ($21-$49). Menus listing cigars, not entrees, are perched on top of the marble bar, and at happy hour last week, almost every couch, table and barstool was occupied by a smoker, half of whom were puffing away on cigars. There's a good selection of scotches and after-dinner drinks. Nonsmokers may want to think twice before subjecting themselves to the den of smoke, though: Even with filters doing a good job cleaning the air every few minutes, the air is thick with blueish clouds and the heavy scent of tobacco. It's what I imagine the "smoke-filled back rooms" at political conventions of old were like.

While it's not as much of a cigar-and-martini bar as it was in the go-go late '90s, Ozio still offers a walk-in humidor and private cigar lockers for its members, and it sells a selection of high-end stogies. Whether you're smoking an Opus One or a Camel Light, though, you're welcome to light up at the daily half-price Martini Hour.

Hookah Bars

Agua Ardiente
The Spanish restaurant allows smoking in its bar and covered patio. Hookahs sell for $25. DJs spin Latin and international music Thursday through Saturday.

Chi-Cha Lounge
One of the first mainstream lounges in Washington to embrace smoking flavored tobacco through water pipes, Chi Cha sees plenty of people relaxing on couches while puffing away on hookahs, which cost $18. Note that Chi-Cha is only allowing hookahs to be smoked indoors; if you want to have a cigarette, you'll need to go outside.

Like Chi-Cha, Gazuza is owned by Maurico Fraga-Rosenfeld and hookahs are on the menu for $18 each. If you want to have a cigarette, you'll need to step out onto the large second-story patio overlooking Connecticut Avenue.


Ollie's Trolley
Not the Ollie's Trolley in the Hotel Harrington, but the L Street location next to the Post Pub. It sells a lot of cigarettes, apparently.

TG Cigars
A cigar shop near the Convention Center, TG welcomes you to hang out and discuss your favorite smokes after making a purchase.

By Fritz Hahn  | February 1, 2007; 12:38 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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You gotta love that Ollie's somehow made the list! That's classic/classy.

Posted by: mcmc | February 1, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

let's not forget prince cafe!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: adams morgan | February 2, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

That's it?

Any chance of getting a list of the bars that have decent outdoor smoking areas (like RFD and Capitol Lounge, which have heated areas in the back -- you can bring your drink and not freeze!) or am I just going to have to discover all of those for myself?

Also also, I would LOVE a list of the places that make you get back in line after you go outside for a smoke, so I can avoid them (bye bye Saint-Ex, it was fun while it lasted).

Posted by: dupont | February 2, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

According to the Department of Health, neither Soussi or Prince Cafe can (legally) offer indoor smoking at this point, since they didn't acquire the required certificate. But you can still go out on their patios and freeze while enjoying your hookah.

Posted by: Fritz | February 2, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Old Glory in georgetown has a heated upstairs deck and bar located there as well. Plastic cups well worth to have a smoke and a drink at the same time...

Posted by: Gtown | February 2, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I mentioned a few places with heated outdoor areas in my story in the Weekend section today, including the Reef, Wonderland, Temperance Hall and Science Club. Bourbon has heaters too, I believe, as does the roof of Cleveland Park Bar and Grill. Good call on Old Glory, Gtown -- I hadn't heard of that one.

Posted by: Fritz | February 2, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Buffalo Billiards and I believe, Rumors, both have heated outside areas to drink and smoke.

Posted by: kc | February 5, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

But, Stetsons has smoking and heaters (they said) on their back patio...

Posted by: nonsmoker | February 8, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Just to clarify...

You're saying you cannot smoke cigarettes/cigars indoors at Prince Cafe or Soussi, *not* that you can't smoke hookah...


Posted by: gt | February 9, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Whether you're smoking an Opus One or a Camel Light, though, you're welcome to light up at the daily half-price Martini Hour." - Opus One is a wine. Opus X is a cigar.

Posted by: Shellysfan | February 15, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Actualle i was having great drinks at Chicha lounge on Friday and i not only had hookas but the place accepts cigar and cigarretes as well. I think will be a great place to smoke and lounge with friends with dj music and great appetizers.

Posted by: JP Caceres | February 17, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

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