Starbucks Coffee

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19 people like this.

Post on 2016-05-09

Starbucks hates smokers, which is ironic for a coffee chain that sells drinks loaded with fat and sugars, and very little coffee. But the plain hot coffee they offer isn't too bad, and actually quite cheap. So if you come across a Starbucks store which allows you to smoke outside, you can enjoy coffee and cigarettes and free wi-fi.

Now, this particular Starbucks not only allows you to smoke outside, it allows you to smoke cigars outside. The seats are a little chilly even in spring due to lack of sunlight, and the ashtrays are awkwardly shaped, but the place is convenient for a quick robusto. Its location, within walking distance from Beppu Station and a bus stop 10 seconds away, is also appealing.

Bar Barolo

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  • A quiet bar in the woods.

22 people like this.

Post on 2016-05-09

I visited Bar Barolo in the wake of the recent Kumamoto Earthquake. It lies in the Yufuin area between Oita and Kumamoto, surrounded by mountains and forests and famous for their fine hot springs.

The bar is a delicate mix of Japanese and European styles. The furniture is obviously western, with armchairs and a rocking chair surrounding a mantelpiece; however, an atrium-style garden within holds moss-covered rocks which one would identify with a zen style.

What holds these two styles is the building itself, and the scenery which it offers. The building itself is neutral in style, with heavy wooden beams and hardwood floors. As for the scenery, you will have to see for yourself.

I believe the greatest bars are venues which can offer something only they can offer, and what Barolo has is something even the best bars in Tokyo can't have.

Five stars.

La Casa Del Habano by Cigar Club Iikura-Honten

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  • Disappointing for a LCDH.

10 people like this.

Post on 2015-10-27

La Casa del Habano. For us cigar enthusiasts, this name stands for the authority of Cuban cigars, the network that sets the bar for Habanos cigars around the world.

La Casa del Habano by Cigar Club does not live up to its name.

Sure, they stock the latest cigars as soon as they become available in Japan. Sure, the place has a great selection of Habanos cigars. And sure, drinks are wonderfully cheap, with shots of rum going at six or seven hundred yen.


What I expect from a La Casa del Habano is not affordable drinks or just a walk-in humidor full of cigars. I expect the cigars to be in perfect condition so that when people come to its doors seeking enlightenment, they get what they seek.

LCDH by Cigar Club does not deliver.

Cigars are often too moist or too dry, and its staff are lacking in experience. I have seen staff members who only started smoking cigars after being hired at LCDH; that's acceptable in a cigar bar, but just is not acceptable from a La Casa. Because when a person who is trying a cigar for the first time is given an inappropriate cigar, whether it be flavour profile or an unforgivingly tight draw, and they do not enjoy their first cigar smoking experience, that is the end of it. They will think that cigar smoking is not for them, all because an amateur recommended the wrong cigar.

This is not so much of a worry for experienced smokers, who already know what they are looking for and can feel the head of the cigar to pick one that should match their draw. But just because experienced smokers may have no problems is pure sloppiness, relying on the customer's expertise and not staff service. That may be acceptable for the local tobacconist, but definitely not a La Casa.

La Casa del Habano by Cigar Club really needs to realize what their name stands for and change the way they operate. As the foremost authority in the Cuban cigar market, they should be showing cigar shops and bars in Japan how things should be done - not the other way around.


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  • Convenient tobacconist in Jiyuugaoka

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Post on 2015-10-27

Izumiya is a tobacconists in the Jiyugaoka neighbourhood. Its speciality lies in roll-your-owns, with a modest selection of pipe tobacco and cigars.

The owner of the store is a tobacco aficionado, so he takes care of his products well; it is a shame that his cigar selection is limited, but I suppose it is a matter of supply and demand more than personal preference.

The store has both Cubans and non-Cubans at far end of the store on the right hand side. They are stocked in a humidor, with a few cigarillos and dry cigars on the adjacent shelf.

The location is convenient, requiring only a one minute walk from the station. I just wish they had more cigars in stock!

shot bar Illusions

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  • Try their "Naporitan".

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Post on 2015-10-27

Shot Bar Illusions is a cigar bar with great food and good drinks. To be honest, I like the place more for its food than drinks or the fact that it is a cigar bar. From bar food classics such as sauteed shrimps and Jamón Ibérico to the creamiest Naporitan spaghetti you've ever had, Shot Bar Illusion has some of the best foods you can ever eat in a bar.

Drink-wise, the bar has a good selection. Their cocktails are sometimes not as good as the food they have to offer, but one thing I can vouch for is their hot buttered rum; the best cup of hot buttered rum I have ever had was from Illusions.

Cigar-wise, nothing special; the regular cigar ashtray, cutter, lighter and a small humidor in case you run out of your own stock.

The place is casual lively with many frequent customers, but the bar will welcome first-timers and regulars alike. Staff are friendly, and the menu is detailed, which is helpful for people who don't go to bars very often.

In conclusion, Shot Bar Illusions is a must-go if you are in the Nakano area... and remember, try their Naporitan!