By Paul O’Brien
Cruising West along Melrose Avenue, the trend center of the universe, you’ll hit a pair of landmarks that have anchored the Fairfax District for decades: the Fred Segal clothing shops, and the Hollywood Improv. Los Angeles cigar lovers need only walk a few feet past the world famous comedy club to step into a landmark of their own. The V Cut Cigar Lounge has been serving up premium handmade cigars since the tail end of the 90s cigar boom; today, they’re preparing to celebrate their 20th anniversary next summer.
Partying along with owner Taz Ahmadi will be a dedicated and diverse group of smokers. Over the years, the open and cordial atmosphere the Ahmadi family has cultivated here has won them the loyalty of customers representative of one of the most culturally diverse cities in America. On any given day, white, African American, Asian and Arab “brothers and sisters of the leaf” saunter in for a quick business meeting, a lengthy laptop screenwriting session, or a competitive game of backgammon. Tonight, a young group of yarmulke-clad teachers from the local Jewish school smoke Tatuajes on the patio and talk NBA basketball.
The space is as comfortable and unpretentious as its clientele. The floor is polished concrete. A pair of leather chairs, several couches, and café-style seating make the space modular enough to accommodate any size group. 25-foot ceilings keep the smoke at a nice distance no matter how big of a crowd is gathered around the game on TV. On cigar tasting event nights–which happen about once a month–you can enjoy the live band, hors d’oeuvres and a bar (the only time the lounge serves alcohol).
Featuring an array of accessories, from cutters (“V” and otherwise) and Boveda humidification packs, to desktop humidors and exclusive lighters from S.T. DuPont, The V Cut has what you need. But as is the case with any great lounge, the walk-in humidor is the star of this Hollywood story. Industry luminaries like Arturo Fuente, Padron, and the aforementioned Tatuaje command ample real estate on these shelves, alongside a well-curated selection of boutique lines from RomaCraft, Illusione, Caldwell, D’Croissier, Avo and many, many more.
If coffee and cigars is your thing, or you fancy a bite to eat, the family operates the V Café right next door, as well as a juice bar on the corner. Technology buff bonus- The Wi-Fi is fast and free.
Yes, you may spot a celebrity client or two; professional athletes visiting from out of town to shoot a commercial or negotiate a new deal always seem to find the place. The proximity to the Improv means that if your favorite comic smokes a cigar now and then, he’ll find his way in. They come back because the savvy regulars know how to give fame its berth, and the staff is expert at rustling up something for every palate, from the daily smoke to the more exotic request.
The V Cut is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Sundays from Noon to 8 p.m.
The V Cut Smoke Shop and Lounge
8172 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046