Although it has changed much over the last few decades, London still wears its appreciation for the traditional finer things with stubborn pride. Along the streets of Mayfair or St James, glimpses of the gentlemanly pursuits are preserved in small boutique shops or through secretive doors. Many were established even before certain nations. Cuban cigar smoke is the true perfume to the London gentleman’s lifestyle, a scent that drifts reassuringly between the streets and is sometimes encountered when entering some of the buildings.
The purveyors of Cuban cigars in London are varied in what they offer. From curious bric-brace displays, with figurines and antiques, to sleek and luxurious vendors that greet you fully-suited; London is one of the true global hubs of the cigar smoker, and its treasures are abundant. To help you discover the addresses where you can shop cigars in the city, here are a few of our favourites.
Founded over fifty years ago in Mayfair, Sautter is one of the city’s most favoured addresses. This is the spot for aged and vintage Cuban cigars, including some from the pre-Castro era (they once stocked an example from 1855.) Today, their story is continued by Laurence Davis, who aside from opening another Sautter store, also offers events and trips to Cuba. If you’re trying to convince a friend to get into cigars, the team schedules a special cigar training session, too, which is fun for beginners and aficionados.
106 Mount St, London W1K 2TW
Davidoff of London
Located on menswear district Jermyn Street, Davidoff has served the well-heeled community with the finest cigars, as well as accessories, walking sticks, whiskeys and umbrellas. Stepping inside, you might be greeted by the estimable and renowned Edward Sahakian, or be immediately drawn to the humidor. For a quintessential British experience, especially with so many other lovely shops in close proximity, Davidoff should be on your list.
35 St James's St, St. James's, London SW1A 1HD
James J. Fox
The store was opened in 1787, and it’s continued popularity is testament to the quality of cigars and service. The shop itself is traditional and understated in its appearance, but they were partly-responsible for developing some of the most important brands in Cuba, including Punch – making this more of an institution (and bonafide slice of cigar history.) Indeed, pop downstairs and you will find the Freddie Fox Museum, which collects an array of historic pieces and memorabilia, and even houses a selection of Sir Winston Churchill’s cigars, a one-time customer. If it’s good enough for Sir Winston, it’s good enough for you.
19 St James's St, St. James's, London SW1A 1ES
La Casa Del Habano
Step away from your Mayfair comfort-zone, to the leafy suburb of Teddington (not too far from Kew Gardens) to find La Casa Del Habano. As the name implies, the selection is largely Cuban, newer imports, but they also stock some heavily-sought after accessories, like Les Fine Flames delightful cigar-cutter. What makes this such a memorable stop is their focus on chocolate and coffee to accompany the experience, offering fine Swiss truffles and freshly-brewed coffee. On a cold London afternoon, it hardly gets better than this.
76 High St, Teddington TW11 8JD
There are few delights like a day with no agenda, as you drift through the carousel of opulence at Harrods. Chances are you have been before, but if not, the department store has long been a reliable address for travelling customers to shop their cigars (as well as a new pair of Crockett & Jones shoes or foreign liqueurs.) There’s a warm, dimly-lit cigar room to enjoy a smoke in peace, a selection of accessories, and products from Cuba and elsewhere. A sanctuary of calm amidst a notoriously rushed stop in Harrods to shop for the flight back home.
Havana Cigar Exchange
A modern spot that swaps some of the other stores’ traditional charm for a chic interior. Located in Knightsbridge, in the beautiful foyer of the Park Tower Knightsbridge Hotel, there’s a sense of exclusivity surrounding this store, as well as a heated terrace where you can indulge in your new smokes while listening to the house pianist. Peruse their Sancho Panza cigars, ask for a glass of champagne, and pick up a souvenir from their selection of glassware and home products. The HCE is likely to become the perfect home-from-home in London, and perfect for organising meetings.
Park Tower Knightsbridge Hotel, 101 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RN
Tomtom Cigars and Coffee
Opened in 1997, Tomtom became a fashionable place for smokers to congregate in the elegant Belgravia district. They’ve since won numerous awards, and earned a reputation as one of London’s leading merchants. You can experience the likes of a long Bolivar Libertador, Ramon Allones, and aged cigars here, but the big draw is their selection of single estate coffee beans, which can be bought and enjoyed on the terrace. Sit back, light up, and watch as life unfolds on quaint Elizabeth Street.
63 Elizabeth St, London SW1W 9PP
Segar and Snuff Parlour
Perhaps more of a curiosity than the others on this list. Segar and Snuff is located in Covent Garden and wears its history proudly – appearing more like a pit-stop on a Dickensian tour through London. While it isn’t considered a premium address, they have a worthy selection of Cuban cigars, but focus mostly on snuff pipes and other more antiquated accessories. If you happen to be pottering around one of the city’s most famous landmarks, it’s certainly worth stopping by for the unique experience.
27A, The Market, London WC2E 8RD
The Lanesborough Hotel
Overseen by the consummate Neil Millington, The Lanesborough Hotel offers a sanctuary of delights for cigar smokers. The hotel itself is located near Hyde Park, and includes a wonderful restaurant and bar (and suites, should you like it enough to stay) but their Garden Room cigar lounge is a highlight. The enviable humidor is updated often. Sit on one of their armchairs and smoke in front of the crackling fire. You can take your spoils with you too, if you don’t fancy staying.
Hyde Park Corner, Grosvenor Crescent, London SW1X 7TA
One of the oldest cigar shops in the City of London, which encompasses the historic financial district. This is still a family-run business that sells a respectable selection of Cuban cigars and accessories. Mostly, however, it serves as the best place to shop if you find yourself outside of Mayfair, ushered to St Paul’s Cathedral or attending meetings in the City. The friendly Mr Gaglani has become a bit of a local hero for bankers and new visitors alike, and will be happy to assist you as you peruse his stock.
144 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 6BL
This is our selection of the best cigar shops in the city. Let us know below if there are any we might have missed.