Lighters Up: 8 Best Old School NYC Bars You Can Actually Still Smoke Inside

Smoking inside is illegal, right?

Wrong. In 2003, a citywide smoking ban was passed, and plenty of people were devastated. Plenty of people thought New York City nightlife was done for.

Of course, that wasn't the case. Now, NYC smokers just clump outside bars shivering together, bonding more deeply, and probably hooking up.

Still, though, there are several bars left in the city where you can still smoke inside. In 2002, the city deigned that if, by the end of 2002, any bar could demonstrate that more than 10% of its gross revenue came from the sale of tobacco products, they could acquire a special waiver from the government.

Now, there are 8 bars where such smoking is still allowed. If you're a smoker and you resent being sent to brave the outdoors to suck on your cigarette or cigar, check out the places below.

Especially because, who knows how long they'll survive.

1. Merchants NY Cigar Bar (1125 1st Avenue)

angelperez125 Merchants NY Cigar Bar

We mean, come on. How could you not be allowed to smoke in a bar called Cigar Bar. We know, we know, that would just be so weird if you couldn't smoke in there.

Craving a good cigar and some good scotch? Want to puff on a cigar while you get your buzz on?


Well, that used to be typical NYC, but at Merchants NY Cigar Bar, that game is very much alive and well. You'll smell like an ashtray once you leave, but that'll just make you feel like it's the 70s, so that's kind of fun, right?

If you're not interested in breathing in secondhand smoke, this bar isn't for you. That's jut how it is.

2. SoHo Cigar Bar (32 Watts Street)

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This place used to be called Circa Tabac, so if you're wondering what happened to that bar, it's right here.

It's pretty bizarre to be allowed to smoke indoors, but just remember: this is what time travel is like. Sometimes, it's bizarre.

At SoHo Cigar Bar they've got a cigar menu and you can buy cigars there, but you can also bring your own cigar and pay a $5 cutting fee.

It's a dim, spacious, bar, and they keep the windows open, so you actually won't feel caged in a smoking den. All-in-all, SoHo Cigar Bar is an excellent low-key escape and lounge for smokers.

3. Hudson Bar and Books (636 Hudson Street)

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Uh, they've got a ton of cigars you can purchase at Hudson Bar and Books. We really do mean a ton.

They've also got an impressive selection of scotch and single malts. You want to get buzzed on whiskey while enjoying a great value of cigar?

Hudson Bar and Books is small and lovely, and they charge reasonable prices for both fabulous items.


If you bring your own cigar, you have to pay a $5 cutting fee. They'll probably have a James Bond movie on in the background for you to enjoy, and you can enjoy a nice, lovely lunch there after your nice, lovely smoke.

It's one of the best cigar bars in the whole city, and if you love smoking cigars indoors in a public vicinity, you need to check it out soon.

4. Grand Havana Room (666 5th Avenue)

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At Grand Havana Room, get prepared for the works. We're talking a cigar cutting cray, a cigar sheet, matches, and wood sticks to light your cigar with.

Now, it's a very expensive club for members only, so if you want to be a part of this, you're going to have to fork over a pretty penny.

That said, you're likely to run into various professional athletes, celebrities, and others among the rich and famous. If the idea of an elite club where you can smoke your cigar inside, plus eat really delicious steak all the time, you should definitely become a member of the Grand Havana Room.


5. Carnegie Club (156 West 56th Street)

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At Carnegie Club they've got a varied list of cigars, and a very fun weekly event called Sounds of Sinatra. If you attend this event, you'll definitely feel like you stepped right back into the 1950s. 

It costs $60 to attend, but if you're a cigar and Sinatra fan, it's probably worth it. The guy who covers Sinatra on Saturday evenings sounds just like him.


The world at Carnegie Club is Sinatra-inspired, full of champagne, and if you go, you're definitely smell like smoke when you leave.

If you don't go on a Saturday, you'll probably encounter a really lovely jazz band, and you'll get to choose from a really extensive selection of scotch. If you've got some cash to blow, you should definitely check Carnegie Club out.

6. Karma Lounge (51 1st Avenue)

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Want to travel back in time? Do it at Karma.

Karma isn't like other cigar bars with their expensive scotch and their expensive cigars and their cutting fees. It's a dive bar, and it's just about the only remaining dive bar in the city where you can still light up inside.

They've also got a ton of hookah, and a really excellent party vibe. There are plenty of hookah lounges, so you'll probably be able to get a seat no matter what time you show up.

Mostly lovely of all, it's an absolutely judgement-free zone. You're absolutely welcome to be your weirdest self in Karma Lounge. Get here soon and check it out for yourself.

7. Club Macanudo (26 East 63rd Street)

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This bar is effing cool. We really can't think of a better way to describe it.

They've got delicious rib eye and filet mignon sandwiches, and really incredible warm chocolate truffles for dessert.


Oh, also, did we mention you can smoke in here? Yeah, well, you can. Want to puff on a cigar and drink really great scotch. 

The prices here are sort of aggressive, so come prepared, but given that it's one of the only places of its kind left in the city, we'll give it a pass.

8. Lexington Bar & Books (1020 Lexington Avenue)

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Lexington Bar & Books is a wonderful place to hit with a group of friends to enjoy some fresh, roasted cashews, throw back some scotch, and puff on a cigar or cigarette to the face.

Also, ladies get a complimentary cigar on Mondays, which is kind of sweet, but a real bummer for guys. Hey guys, you've kind of monopolized the cigar game since, like, forever, so you can let us have this one.

If you're not into secondhand smoke, go to one of the other hundreds of bars that don't allow smoking. This is one of the last bars in the city where you can secure a tobacco jolt, and it's like, bad for you and everything, but everyone's got to be bad every once in a while.

If you're into smoking cigars while getting buzzed on high quality liquor, hit up this cozy Upper East Side bar soon.

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[Feature Image Courtesy Facebook] 

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