Baseball fans from around the country and around the world will soon be in town to watch their favorite teams and get an up close look at some of baseball’s biggest stars and most promising young talent.
For the cigar smoking baseball fan, Phoenix is that much better of a destination thanks to some 50 cigar stores and lounges in the greater metro area. Regardless of who you’re cheering for, you’re never far from a premium cigar and a comfortable chair to enjoy it in. With some of the lowest cigar taxes in the country – just 22 cents per stick – many cigar smokers also find it worthwhile to take advantage of the low prices and stock up on their favorite stogies.
Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies – Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale
The newest and most well-attended ballpark in the Cactus League also happens to have the most abundant number of shops around it. Owl Ear Smoke Shop is literally right next door, located just south of the complex at The Pavillions at Talking Stick. They have developed their humidor nicely since opening just over a year ago and offer some of the best prices in the entire Valley.
Head east on Indian Bend and you’ll find Talking Stick Resort and Casino and the very popular Shadows Lounge, their cigar friendly bar which is open daily from 2 pm – 2 am. They have happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 -7 pm, perfect for a post-game cigar following an afternoon game or as a warmup for a night game. Their cigar selection is good but not stellar; if you’re particular as to what kind of cigars you like to smoke, it’s best to bring your own. Be sure to try their private blend of Woodford Reserve bourbon.
Head north just a few miles and you’re in the Scottsdale Airpark, where the destination store is Cigar King. It shares space with Arizona Fine Time and ShavingCreams.com, making it a stop for those looking for a premium cigar, luxury watch and premium men’s skin care products all under one roof. With an inventory of cigars that numbers well into the six digits and over 40 house blends made by some of the biggest names in the business, you’re guaranteed to find something great at Cigar King.
21 Degrees recently moved into the area and features beer and wine to pair with your cigar. They're right across the patio from the very popular Renegade Tap and Kitchen as well as several other restaurants.
San Francisco Giants – Scottsdale Stadium
Old Town Scottsdale is not only home to the Giants but to one of the state’s oldest tobacco stores, Ford & Haig. This quaint store sits among some great shops and restaurants just a few blocks away from the ballpark, and has been known as a place where some of the game’s biggest names get their cigars when they’re in town. They also carry a great selection of pipes. Before heading over, swing by nearby Cartel Coffee for a tasty cup of joe.
Chicago Cubs – HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa
It’s the last year for the Cubs at HoHoKam, as they’ll head to their new home at Wrigleyville West in 2014. If you’re in town cheering on the Cubbies or their opponents, Big Sticks Fine Cigars in Mesa is the place you want to go before or after the game.
If you’re staying in that part of the Valley, it's worth heading to Fox Cigar Bar in Gilbert, which has an incredibly well stocked humidor plus a full bar along with indoor and outdoor smoking areas.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Tempe Diablo Stadium
The Angels saw a huge attendance jump last year after they signed Albert Pujols, and you have to think they’ll keep it up after landing Josh Hamilton this winter. After you see the Halos, head to Churchill’s Fine Cigars in Tempe, just about 15 minutes away. Located just off of Mill Avenue, the store is close to one of the most electric parts of the Valley thanks to its proximity to Arizona State University. The shop has an outdoor patio which puts you right on the edge of the action and is conveniently located between two popular restaurants and across the street from World of Beer, who has an outdoor smoking section so you can pair your cigar with beers from around the globe.
Oakland Athletics – Phoenix Municipal Stadium
“Muni” as it’s known to Spring Training veterans is situated in an area that allows you to head to a bunch of cigar stores. One option: head west to Churchill’s Fine Cigars’ main store on 44th St. & Camelback, or venture a bit farther north on 44th St. to Ambassador Fine Cigars on Tatum and Shea. You’re also fairly close to Ford & Haig in Old Town Scottsdale and Hiland’s Cigars in Scottsdale.
Milwaukee Brewers – Maryvale Ballpark in Phoenix
If you’re going to see the Brewers you’ll have to venture out a bit to find one of the Valley’s premium cigar shops as it’s the one ballpark without a great shop nearby. Consider heading north to Churchill’s Fine Cigars on 67th Ave. & Loop 101, or check the list of other shops at the end of this article to see if one is nearby where you’re staying.
Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds – Goodyear Ballpark
It’s celebrating its fifth anniversary this year and was named the Best Place to See a Spring Training Game last year. If your travels take you to Goodyear, swing by Fine Ash Cigars in neighboring Avondale. Owner Sam Lopez and his wife Rosie have built one of the friendliest shops in the Valley and loaded their humidor with some of the industry’s top brands.
Los Angeles Dodgers & Chicago White Sox – Camelback Ranch in Glendale
Depending on which way you’re coming from or heading to, you’ve got two great choices. Fine Ash Cigars (see info above) is just a few minutes south, while Fair Oaks Cigars in Peoria is just a few minutes northeast. Fair Oaks has undergone quite a transformation in the last year, with a new manager cleaning up the humidor and really giving the store the attention and love it had been lacking. It’s surrounded by several popular restaurants, including BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse.
Seattle Mariners & San Diego Padres – Peoria Sports Complex
Located just a long fly ball from the complex is Ambassador Fine Cigars’ West Valley location, on the corner of 75th Ave. and W. Paradise Lane. Opened just after Spring Training 2012 wrapped up, the store is full of top-notch cigars and accessories, and the service is among the best in the Valley. Given the proximity to the stadium, don’t be surprised if you see some players, coaches, scouts or executives stop by for a cigar after a game as well.
Another great option in the area is Churchill’s Fine Cigars on 67th Ave. and Loop 101. The store’s manager, Paula Martin, is a professional cigar roller who does events throughout the Valley and occasionally rolls fresh cigars in the store. Wherever you grab your cigars, consider heading over to Johnny Fox’s Public House located just west of the ballpark to enjoy them on their cigar-friendly patio.
Texas Rangers & Kansas City Royals – Surprise Ballpark
Unfortunately, Surprise is known more for slow traffic than it is for premium cigar shops. Your best bet is to stop by Ambassador Fine Cigars or Churchill’s Fine Cigars in Peoria and stock up before making the slog along Bell Road to the ballpark.
Other notable shops
While they’re not particularly close to any of the Spring Training ballparks, don’t overlook some of these other fine shops:
- Mojito Cigar Lounge in Cave Creek, which recently returned after a brief hiatus.
- Stag Tobacconist in Phoenix and Scottsdale and Ye Olde Pipe & Tobacco Shoppe in central Phoenix, all owned by Rick Hopkins, a second-generation tobacconist who keeps some of the best stocked humidors in the Valley.
- Churchill’s Fine Cigars in downtown Phoenix – with all the hotels in the area, Churchill’s has become a regular stop for out-of-towers.
- Fumar Cigars in north Phoenix, just northeast of the I-17/Loop 101 interchange, has one of the biggest lounges in the state and a growing selection of big-name cigars and boutique blends. They also specialize in pre-embargo Cuban cigars and Prohibition Era whiskey, but call ahead if you’re interested in either of those.
- Recently opened, The Man Cave in Cave Creek offers a boutique selection of cigars, as well as cigar accessories, gifts and other cool stuff for guys and their caves.
- Maduro Cigar Boutique in Carefree has a packed humidor and always provides a find, while the wine bar next door makes a great place to relax.
Also, many of the resorts in the Phoenix area allow cigar smoking on their patios, which gives you a few more phenomenal areas in which to enjoy your cigar with friends and a beverage. Check out the Arizona Biltmore, the Phoenician, and the patio of A Different Pointe of View at the Pointe Hilton for some of the better places to fire up a stogie.
Finally, keep an eye on the Phoenix cigar event calendar. You never know when there might be a great cigar event happening just down the road from you that offers some significant savings on cigars.