Story by HAISTEN WILLIS/Photos by JASON GETZ
Good conversation accompanied by a quality cigar and a nice glass of bourbon or scotch has long been the perfect combination for Julius Bolton. His father and grandfather loved a good stogie and passed that appreciation on to Bolton, owner of Cigar City Club in Sandy Springs.
“We’re all ex-Army guys,” Bolton says. “It was just a way of life when I would see my father and grandfather smoke.”
He opened his semi-private cigar bar in 2015. In brainstorming its appeal, Bolton, also a U.S. Army veteran, decided to create an upscale lounge that would cater to patrons in a special way. He started with a large mahogany bar and soft golden lighting as a welcoming main attraction. Plush sofas and chairs surround it. A 180-square-foot walk-in humidor is close by with 230 cigar selections.
“A lot of people have never been to a private club and don’t know what it’s like,” Bolton says. “I decided to open up that kind of atmosphere.”
He offers a membership that provides discounts on cigars and food, as well as access to the members-only space at the front of the club.
“I call it a cigar lounge on steroids,” Bolton says, describing the entire place.
Posters on the wall honor heroes and cigar lovers of the past, including Winston Churchill and the 1960s Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.
Bolton says he wanted a place that he could visualize giants like Churchill, General George S. Patton and his father and grandfather, themselves lifetime Army men, sitting down and smoking their favorite cigars.
His personal desire for a particular type of cigar varies with the hour of the day and mood he’s in. “That’s the thing about cigars. Like wine, different people have different tastes for them,” he says.
Jimmy Martin Jr., a frequent patron, smokes cigars only a few times per month but enjoys Cigar City Club’s ambiance and his camaraderie with the over-40 crowd that stops in after work and on weekends.
“They have a patio right in the front of the lounge,” says Martin, a Marietta resident and owner of JMJ and Associates private investigation firm. “People go out there that are serious cigar smokers. They have speakers out there so you can hear the music.”
Jazz or old school R&B is performed most nights.
In food, Bolton’s happy hour includes small plates of coconut shrimp, crispy grouper, cheeses and other items, as well as $6 cocktails and wine. The dinner menu has glazed lamb chops, lobster tails and more prepared by a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef.
The lounge draws non-smokers, too, such as Brandi Lewis, who operates an Alpharetta-based ancillary services company “The patrons and the vibe here are sophisticated,” she says. “You never know who you will might meet.”
To honor Cigar City Club members and some of the public figures who often visit, Bolton started a lifetime achievement award last year. The private event celebrated entertainer Freddie Cole, who was the first person to play the lounge’s baby grand piano. The event included live music, top-shelf liquor and complimentary cuisine.
This year, NBA great Julius Irving is the honoree.
Along with private membership perks, Bolton says Cigar City Club has a little bit of everything. “We’re little bit of live music, cigar shop, and we’re a lot in the way of a lounge,” he says.
5006 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. 404-843-8826. cigarcityclub.com
Cigar City Club has solar panels that help to provide electricity and a newly enhanced ventilation system that circulates cigar smoke out of the establishment.
The club has a business to business-casual dress code. Owner Julius Bolton has a more casual place next door that’s set to officially open in time for the holidays. The traditional cigar shop and sports bar will be 6,800 square feet, including a 825-square-foot walk-in humidor.
Several television shows have filmed at Cigar City Club including Bravo’s “Married to Medicine” and the OWN network’s “Greenleaf,” where the blues club owned by Oprah Winfrey’s character, Mavis, is actually Cigar City Club.
More Places for a Stogie
Cutters Cigars and Spirits. 4915 Windward Parkway, Alpharetta. 770-685-1731. cutterscigarandspirits.com
Truly Cigars. 2745 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta. 30066. 770-321-4858. trulycigars.com
The Cigar Merchant. 10800 Alpharetta Highway, Roswell. 770-642-1221. thecigarmerchant.net
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