By Stephen Ostrowski | October 20, 2015 | Food & Drink
Biggs brings the scotch-and-stogie scene back to Chicago.
At tobacco-lovers’ paradise Biggs, smokers can indulge in fine cigars paired with a full-bodied whisky.
Chicago’s smoking ban may have severely limited where locals can light up, but it hasn’t stopped cigar fans from puffing away in dedicated clubs and lounges across the city. The most impressive recent addition to the scene is undoubtedly Biggs, the 15,000-square-foot Dearborn Street mansion that owner and Chicago real estate investor Fred Latsko recently transformed into a four-floor tobacco-lover’s paradise. “This is the epic place to do what we’re not allowed to do anywhere else,” says director of operations Richard Bley of the space. “Our goal has always been [to create] the predominant cigar destination in the United States.”
Embellished with pool tables, fat-screen TVs, and a sprawling patio, the Gatsby-esque retreat offers a range of high-end stogies, from Principle Aviator Grande Pyramides to ultra-rare, pre-embargo Flor de Farach Cubans priced at $250 each. On any given night, the space’s 12 rooms buzz with a smart crowd of suits and neighborhood sophisticates lounging and puffing in dark leather club chairs, many sipping Scotch.
It’s an ideal pairing. Like a cigar, Scotch whisky undergoes a barrel-based aging that results in a complementary favor spectrum. “Pair the weight of the cigar with the weight of the Scotch,” advises Andrew Moldenhauer of Chicago-based libations consultancy Vicekings. “Fuller-bodied Scotches, like a Macallan 18 or a Highland Park 18, tend to go well with cigars that are a darker wrapper, to get those chocolate, earthy truffle tones.” Whether the indulgence be liquid or leaf, the communal aspect of Biggs wins out. Says Bley, “These types of establishments, like Biggs, are as much [about] a group of like-minded people getting together as [about] the tobacco itself.” 1150 N. Dearborn St., 312-809-2444
photography by shutterstock