Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Hemingway’s offers sophistication

For those looking to escape the collegiate confines of State
Street and venture into a world not overrun by teenagers and
20-somethings, the Hemingway Lounge in Fitchburg provides a sleek
atmosphere ripe with sophistication. Best yet, a wise eye can
navigate a relaxed evening in this posh cigar bar for about the
same price as a night spent wandering between Library Mall and the

Inconspicuously located in Fitchburg, the Hemingway Lounge is a
short drive from campus and easily accessible off the Beltline on
Fish Hatchery Road, across from the new Great Dane.

Walking into the night spot, a beautiful and well-stocked
humidor stands to the right with an elongated bar draped to the
left. Beyond the tobacco and alcohol selection is a spacious,
comfortable back area replete with leather couches, cocktail
tables, a slick big-screen television and small stage. At night the
television goes dark and attention shifts to the stage, where live
music (normally of the jazz variety) radiates throughout the


The entertainment is certainly enjoyable, but sound levels are
kept at an ideal volume so conversation is never drowned out.

The key to a night at the Hemingway Lounge on a student’s budget
is wisely scouting the humidor. The majority of the cigar selection
is fairly priced, but that doesn’t mean that most of these
top-of-the-line stogies are within reasonable grasp of a student’s

At the far end of the humidor, however, sits a selection of Joya
de Nicaragua cigars, one of the finest — and hottest — brands on
the market. With a dark maduro wrapper and extremely potent full
body, these are incredibly tasty and strong tobacco selections. And
starting at under $5 apiece (with a lifespan that should last a
fair-paced puffer nearly an hour), the Joya de Nicaraguas are quite
the steal. For a true test of one’s strength, try the Antano make
of this selection — it might be one of the five most powerful
cigars outside of Havana.

Another high point of the Hemingway Lounge’s humidor is a
selection of Mayorgas. Known for their rich taste, these cigars
have pleasant undertones of coffee and come in a box-pressed shape
that is smoothly rectangular. Ideal for the faint-hearted smoker,
or newcomers to the world of fine tobacco, this cigar is not nearly
as potent as a Joya de Nicaragua and instead comes with a more
mild-to-medium body, also priced starting at under $5 a stick.

Perhaps the best deal, however, is a Padron. This legendary
cigar comes from one of the most respected factories in the world
and lives up to its reputation for smooth taste, a long, slow burn
and ideal balance, all in a body slightly stronger than a Mayorga
but still amicable to those wanting to stay on their feet. That
Hemingway Lounge can offer these starting at under $5 makes for one
of the finest tobacco bargains in town.

When browsing Hemingway’s humidor with an eye on prices, be
warned, however, that not every low-priced stick is really worth
putting in your mouth. Aimed at young smokers, Drew Estate’s La
Vieja Habana is available for less than $4, but isn’t even worth
the tackily designed band around its neck. Almost totally devoid of
taste, these cigars burn awkwardly and light poorly.

The bar at the Hemingway Lounge is heavy with various Scotch
blends that complement fine cigars ideally. The pricing, however,
should offer a firm reminder that foreign whisky doesn’t come
cheaply — a glass of Johnnie Walker Red goes for $6.

The liquor selection, though, is clearly the lounge’s finest
improvement of the past half year. Once a simple cigar store with a
notoriously curt clerk, this Fitchburg lounge has been taken under
new management, seen a remodeling and improved immensely in quality
over the past six months.

So next time you’re looking for a good smoke and sophisticated
experience, don’t hesitate to look just outside of Madison.


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