Gentlemen, You May Smoke :: Mart McCann, Photography by Frank Barnett

The “Bar and Grille” theme of this feature has led photographer Frank Barnett and me to explore, among other things, the subcultures surrounding wine, coffee, and craft-brewed beer. Guess what? Cigar makers and retailers are just as quirky, passionate, diverse, and customer-focused as their brethren in those other endeavors.

Like wine tasting, cigar smoking is a social activity; witness all the cigars that are consumed during male-bonding rituals such as football games, outdoor barbecues, and yes, fishing trips.

Tower Pipes & Cigars has been around in my hometown of Sacramento, California, for 45 years, and even though I have never smoked a cigar except for that one time in 1968 when Mary Cecile Cunningham and I were trying to impress the wrangler at a Santa Rosa dude ranch (we were about 19 at the time), I felt right at home walking in.

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