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East Bay (Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties)

Beverages, & More: [ Click here to see the review ]
Albany: 836 San Pablo Avenue (just north of Solano Avenue) {MAP} / 510-525-9582
Oakland: Jack London Square: 525 Embarcadero W. (@ Clay) {MAP} / 510-272-9457
Walnut Creek: 2900 North Main Street (@ Geary off Hwy. 680) {MAP} / 510-472-0130

The Bottle Shop : 40919 Fremont Blvd. (1/2 mile south of Grimmer), Fremont, CA
510-656-0744 --- Hours: 7am-11pm daily, except to 10pm on Sundays.
This liquor store has a new tall cabinet humidor that is well stocked with many favorites.. Primo Del Rey, H. Upmann, Don Mateo, Don Diego, and Las Cabrillas to name a few. Prices are average and the selection is limited, but the storage conditions are very good.. for a liquor store. This is a great place for an "emergency smoke" if you're stuck in Southeast Fremont. They're located in the Irvington District, directly across the street from the "24 Hour Nautilus" about a mile southwest of Lake Elizabeth.
-Macanudo Portofino: Not in stock, AF Curlyhead: Not in shock.

Castro Valley Fine Cigars : 3668 Castro Valley Blvd. (1/4 mile east of Center), Castro Valley, CA
510-886-2964 --- Hours: Mon-Thur 10-9, Fri-Sat 10-10, Sun 12-6
This new shop opened in July 1997.   They have a large walk-in humidor stocked full of over a hundred different sizes and styles of premium and super-premium sticks.  I noted many of my favorites, including... La Gloria Cubana, H. Upmann, Dominican Cohibas, Don Diego, Dunhills and Casillas. Their prices are a bit on the high side, but the storage conditions are excellent.   This is a great place for a quality if you're in the area, or if you're en route to a cigar friendly lounge or bar in the area. They have a respectable selection of accessories and pipes as well as rental lockers (@ $35.00 per month).
-Macanudo Portofino: $9.75, AF Curlyhead: Not in shock.

Cigar Emporium (two East Bay locations):

  • Fremont Store: 40835 Fremont Blvd. (@ Washington), Fremont, CA

  • 510-226-9900 --- Hours: M-F 10-8, Sat 11-6, Sun 10-3
    Easy to find, located next to the Scuba Shop!   Great selection!  Arturo Fuente Hemingways, Ashton, Paratagas 150's, Avo's and many others in their large inventory.  The prices are not bad. And, there are No Limits on Purchases!  They just opened in May 1997. One of the owners, Billy Kader, is also one of the owners of  Duffy's Cigar Store in Roseville, CA. (Review by: Jim Lerch, Silicon Valley Cigar Society) 
    - Macanudo Portofino: $7.99  AF Curlyhead: $2.99

  • Walnut Creek Store: 1489 Newell Avenue (@ S. Main), Walnut Creek, CA

  • 925-934-7570 --- Hours: ?
    The Walnut Creek location of this mini-chain just opened in the Summer of 1998. Located in a small row of interesting shops with plenty of on-street and on-site parking (in front parking lot (first driveway only) or in back). They feature a very good selection of well-cared for cigars, elegantly displayed. They almost always have Romeo y Julieta's and other hard to find cigars. The knowledgable staff is always happy to make a recommendation. I almost always walk away with a new favorite! Prices seem competitive, good for the selection and accessibility. Check it out! (Review by: Darren Madams)
    - Price comparisons and hours needed.

    Cigar Expo : 2689 Monument Blvd., Concord, CA 94520
    510-798-8600 --- Hours: Mon-Sat: 10-8, Sunday: 10-6
    Owned by Dalip Kumar Sharma, the owner of the "Mattress Expo" (of which it occupies a small corner), the place has a nice walk-in humidor and a small smoking area with one chair. The stock is limited.. with drug-store cigars on the same shelves as the few premiums but their prices are so outrageously high!  I honestly can't recommend going there. I don't know how Mr. Sharma sleeps at night!  (Review by: Alan Alvaro)
    - Macanudo Portofino: $9.90, AF Curlyhead: $6.40

    Cigarettes Cheaper : (7 Locations in the East Bay)

  • 2220 South Shore Shopping Center, Alameda -- 510-337-1879
  • 913 Marina Village Pkwy. (Marina Square Center), Alameda -- 510-749-9280
  • 39471 Fremont Blvd., Fremont -- 510-651-0441
  • 24703 Amador Avenue, Hayward -- 510-732-5579
  • 20930 Mission Blvd., Hayward -- 510-481-8387
  • 5841 Jarvis Avenue, Newark -- 510-793-2910
  • 31834 Alvarado Blvd., Union City -- 510-487-1432

  • Cigarettes Cheaper is a chain store. Some of their stores (ie. South Shore Shopping Center in Alameda) are equipped with a walk-in humidor, but most of the shelves are pretty bare. Most stores have one large cabinet. There is not really much of a selection of "premiums" at any of the stores. The prices are not any "cheaper" than anywhere else.. but, not really overpriced either. Maybe their selection will improve in the future?  (Review by:
    -Macanudo Portofino: Not in stock,  AF Curlyhead: Not in stock.

    Cork n' Bottle Liquors : 2970 Treat Blvd. (@ Oak Grove), Concord, CA 94518
    510-798-1415 --- Hours: 8-11, daily.
    The owner, Paul Rakkar. is friendly and knowledgeable. This is NOT your average corner liquor store.. they feature five humidified glass showcases full of stock. They have a wide selection of quality products with a healthy number of premium lines at mostly reasonable prices. Smoking indoors is not permitted, but they will soon open a newly installed wine tasting bar! (Review by: Alan Alvaro)
    - Macanudo Portofino: Not in stock, AF Curlyhead: Not in stock

    Cork & Bottle : 2700 Ygnacio Valley Rd. (@ Oak Grove), Walnut Creek, CA
    Located in the Encina Grande Shopping Center, next to Wallgreens.
    This liquor store put in a small humidor a few years ago, with their portion of the winnings from a Lotto grand prize winner. Their cigar prices are relatively high but they have a good selection and they maintain their product well. (Review by:  Price comparisons and telephone number needed.  Anyone?

    Dave's Liquors :: 1008 Fitzuren Rd. (@ Contra Loma), Antioch, CA
    510-754-8490 -- Hours: Sun-Thur: 8-10, Fri-Sat: 8-12.
    A small (at times spotty) selection. I've noted a range from Partagas/Macanudo and Royal Jamaican to quite a few high-end "drugstore brands". They also carry a large selection of Don Thomas. Prices are quite high for most brands. The store has changed hands in the last year and I'm not quite sure how dedicated to cigars the new owners are. (Review by: Mark Naugle)  Editor's Note: I telephoned the store and spoke with "Sammy", the new owner. He flatly refused to give any prices over the telephone (maybe he's ashamed?). I certainly wouldn't buy any smokes from him!
    - Macanudo Portofino: $9.75, AF Curlyhead: $4.39

    Drucquer & Sons, Ltd. : 1481 Solano Ave. (@ Santa Fe Ave.), Albany, CA 94706 {MAP}
    510-525-5682 --- Hours: M-F: 10-6, Sat: 10-5, Closed Sunday.
    Since 1841. Their new store is still friendly but not as spacious as their old store in Berkeley. The most knowledgeable folks in the Bay area.  Price comparisons needed.

    Danville Cigar and Fine Gifts : 411 Hartz Ave., Danville, CA {MAP}
    510-831-8899 --- Hours: Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-3.
    Located in the heart of downtown Danville, this store has everything you may need for cigar smoking nirvana. Make a few selections from their fully stocked humidor and enjoy them while you walk the quaint downtown street and do some window shopping or sit in the shade (in their own reserved area) outside the store and watch the shoppers pass by! Joe Secola, the proprietor, is knowledgeable and friendly.
    - Macanudo Portofino: $7.99, AF Curlyhead: $1.99

    DeLaur's Newsstand : Located directly in front of 12th Street BART Station
    Telephone # ? --- Hours: ?
    It is really a poor cigar shop, but it's the best general interest Newsstand in the San Francisco Bay Area. For some reason I also think they are open 24 hours or close to it.   Prices are reasonable with Portofino's under $6, and Muniemakers under $1.   (Editors Note: Many of their prices are a bit high and their storage conditions are questionable, but there aren't many other choices in downtown Oakland.. good for an "emergency smoke".)   (Review by: Mr. Karr)  Address, phone #, shop hours, and price comparisons needed. Anyone?

    Encinal Market : 3211 Encinal Blvd., Alameda, CA
    510-522-7171 --- M-F 6am-10pm, Sat-Sun 6am-6pm.
    Mel's Landmark in Alameda is closed (the owner retired). His cigars have been transferred to this Grocery Store directly across the street. The selection is limited and there is no atmosphere but sometimes you can find some Fuente Reservas there!  (Review by:  Price comparisons needed.

    Grand Lake Smoke Shop : 3206 Grand Avenue (next door to the Grand Lake Theater)
    510-268-4070 --- Hours: M-F: 7-7, Sat: 7-6, Sun: 8-5.
    This shop is a flash from the past with a lot of candy, magazines, cigarettes and a small collection of cigars. I found they had a scant selection at best but redeemed themselves by carrying AF Short Stories and 858's, at reasonable prices, during the "Cigar Panic of 1997". (Review by Rick Bolen)  Price comparisons needed.

    John T's : 2086 Newpark Mall, Newark, CA {MAP}
    510-796-7033 --- Hours: M-F: 10-9, Sat-Sun: 10-8.
    A small men's store that is 90% trinkets and toys and 10% cigars and pipe tobacco. They have a small walk-in humidor at the back of the store that is usually well stocked with a decent variety of sticks. Of course, since it's in a mall, there is NO SMOKING ALLOWED. I don't usually get my cigars there.. but, if you need a beer stein, lava lamp, chess set, or some darts.. this is the place!
    - Macanudo Portofino: Out-of-Stock, AF Curlyhead: Out-of-Stock.

    La Salle Cigars : 6218 La Salle Avenue (@ Mountain), Oakland, CA
    510-339-8788 --- Hours: M-F 11-7, Weekends 10-6   [Click here to e-mail the shop owner: John Karnay]
    This is a nicely appointed shop with a smoking room (The Habanna Room) in the back. They recently received an on-premises beer/wine license. Prices are reasonable and somewhat less than other local shops. John and the ladies provide excellent and knowledgeable service without being pushy. There is a decent variety of smokes but they do not stock Arturo Fuentes, or Cohibas. The walk-in humidor is well cared for. This is my favorite shop. (Review by: Steve Healey)
    [Click on the shop name above to hyperlink to their Web Site]
    - Macanudo Portofino: $6.50, AF Curlyhead: Not-in-Stock.

    Lil' Havana : 1011 #1 Mason Street, Vacaville, CA 95688 {MAP}
    707-447-8678 --- Hours: ?
    I've purchased cigars there a few times. The selection is pretty good and they feature a nice size walk in humidor, a good selection of cigar accessories, and a very pleasant smoking room with couches, color TV. Their prices seem a bit high and salesman is a little pushy at times. (Review by:  Hours and price comparisons needed.

    Liquor Hub : 39226 Argonaut Way, Fremont, CA
    510-793-4665 -- Hours 9:30am to 9:30pm, daily.
    Liquor Hub is located in Fremont Hub Shopping Mall. It is on the same side as the Marie Callender's and the theater complex. The big plus about this store is that it is right next door to Shelly's (cigar friendly) Bar. They carry Hamilton's, Macanudo's, Don Thomas, Partagas, Astral's and a few more. (Review by: Steve Patel)Price comparisons needed.

    Lunardi's Supermarket : [ Click here to see the review ]
    Walnut Creek : 1600 Palos Verdes Mall (Geary @ Pleasant Hill Rd.) {MAP} / 510-939-6477

    O'Sullivan Cigars of Walnut Creek : 1628 Locust Street (@ Civic Dr.), Walnut Creek, CA
    510-274-1533 --- Open Tuesday-Saturday, Closed Sun & Mon.
    Opened in February '97 in downtown Walnut Creek, across from the Civic Arts Theater Complex. It's tucked off in a corner, but you'll see the sign out near the sidewalk. The store seems small but the nice walk-in humidor is well stocked for only being open a short time. The owner, Tom, is friendly and knowledgeable. You can tell he loves to "talk cigars". He made some good suggestions and warned me off the dog rockets. He suggested a great maduro wrapped Licenciados Wavell (@$7.25) which was superb. I also bought an AF Chateau Fuente (@$6.50) and a couple HdM Double Corona's (@$4.75). You will also find plenty of accessories including some beautiful humidors. While the prices seem a bit high, they aren't out of line with any of the other retail store fronts, and Walnut Creek really needs a cigar store like this. Great all-around shopping experience. Very worthy of a stop while in the area. (Review by: Rich Young)  Hours and price comparisons needed!

    The Piedmont Tobacconist : 17 Glen Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611 {MAP}
    510-652-PIPE (7473) --- Hours: M-Th 10-6, Fri 10-7, Sat 10-5, Sun Closed.
    They're right off Piedmont Ave., near where the old Drucquer's store was. The owner is Stephan S. Richman. It's a very elegant and pleasant store with cigars in excellent condition. Their beautifully groomed golden retriever is in charge of keeping the floor and sidewalk warm and is known for his all day naps. This is Mic Bergen's all-time favorite cigar shop! (Editor's note : I have received e-mail from many, many readers adding praise for this excellent shop!)
    - Macanudo Portofino: Out-of-Stock, AF Curlyhead: $2.50

    Rock Stop : 39482 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA
    510-745-8118 --- Hours: ?
    I was very impressed with the selection of cigars here. The have a good sized walk-in humidor, the teenaged staff seemed had little knowledge of cigars. The prices were reasonable and (as a local) it is nice not to have to travel out of Fremont to get premium cigars. It is worth checking out if you're in town. (Review by: Al Nazzaro)   Hours, cross street and price comparisons needed!

    San Leandro Fine Cigars : 1744 East 14th St. (between Elsie & Maud), San Leandro, CA
    510-351-7662 --- Hours: Noon to 7pm, 7 days a week.
    A real nice store, kind of like Cesar's Palace! Nice walk-in humidor, large smoking lounge in the back with a big screen TV, bar, pool table and rental lockers for $25./mo. Great staff.. check it out!   (Review by:"Mr. H")
    - Macanudo Portofino: $9.75, AF Curlyhead: $3.50.

    Schmidt's Tobacco & Trading Co & Pub : 1492 Solano Avenue, Albany, CA
    510-525-1900 -- Hours: Sun-Wed 12 noon-12 midnight, Thur-Sat 12 noon-1 am.
    They sell premium and manufactured cigars, cigarettes, and pipe tobacco. They don't have a humidor, per se. They explained, "..we sell a lot of cigars so the tobacco stays fresh due to the high turnover." They try to stock the most major brands of hand-made premium smokes and they do allow you to smoke your own too. They sell beer and coffee drinks (espresso, cappuccino, etc..). They have two large rooms. The front one has a huge round table with 6 overstuffed chairs around it. People read, play chess, backgammon, dominoes and scrabble or just enjoy a brew and a 'gar! It's that kind of place, where you can just hang-out, smoke, and relax.
    - Macanudo Portofino: Out-of-Stock, AF Curlyhead: Out-of-Stock.

    Smoker Friendly : (3 Locations in the East Bay)
    Hayward: 677 W. Tennyson Road (@ Ruus Rd.), Hayward, CA
    510-887-0566 --- Hours: M-F: 7am-8pm, Sat: 9am-8pm, Sun: 10am-6pm.
    This place is a "cigarette store chain" that is a clone of the "Cigarettes Cheaper" franchise. The Hayward store has a minimal selection of premium cigars. They did have 4 types of the Dunhill Montecruz line from $3-4 ea. They also had Partagas #1's in stock (@ $7.15 ea.). Brenda is the store manager. She has no real "cigar knowledge".. but, that isn't what you'd go here for anyway! Pleasant staff and ideal storage conditions make this meager selection worth visiting if you're in the neighborhood.
    - Macanudo Portofino: $8.15, AF Curlyhead: Out-of-Stock (She had never heard of them).
    Dublin: No Details. --- 510-829-9615
    San Lorenzo: Unk. Address on Hesperian Blvd., San Lorenzo, CA -- 510-278-6151
    Both stores need to be reviewed.  Brenda from the Hayward store advised that the Dublin and San Lorenzo stores had a better selection of cigars. The San Lorenzo store opened in August of 1996.

    Stadium Pub: 1420 Lincoln Avenue, Walnut Creek, CA {MAP}
    510-256-7302 --- Hours: ?
    A tremendous selection of cigars for a small sports pub. They have two upright humidors filled to capacity with mostly mid to high-end cigars. Owner Richard Sherman loves to talk cigars over a micro brew. This is the best cigar selection in downtown Walnut Creek. Unfortunately, Walnut Creek has highly restrictive smoking laws so you have to smoke outside for the most part. Mr. Sherman is setting up special cigar events where you will be able to smoke indoors when there is no food being served. (Review by Rich Young)   Cross street, hours and price comparisons needed.

    Tobacco Loft : 1920 Contra Costa Blvd., Pleasant Hill, CA {MAP}
    1-800-227-3440 --- Hours: M-F: 10-8 Sat: 10-6 Sun 12-5
    Great selection, knowledgeable, friendly staff, free coffee and a smoking area. They have a great following of local customers and even sponsor events like a cigar happy hour on occasion, where you get free cigars and port. I like their policy on limiting some of the hard to get cigars to two a day. This allows everyone to get some of those hard to find Fuente's, R&J's etc. (Review by
    - Macanudo Portofino: $7.50, AF Curlyhead: $3.30.

    Tobacco Loft : 4001-4 Santa Rita Road, Pleasanton, CA (Unable to {MAP} this location)
    510-463-0100 --- Located next to Baskin Robbins.   Hours: Mon-Sat 10-7, Sunday Closed
    This in a nice shop that has a great selection of fine cigars, pipes and tobacco at reasonable prices. They have a wide array of exquisite hand-crafted humidors and smoker's accessories. I have heard the service here has improved dramatically and they are also offering free cigars and single malts during their monthly "Happy Hour" events. (Service update by: Dave Toledo)   Price comparisons needed.

    The following locations need to be reviewed:

    Dean's Smoke Shop : 9759 Edes Ave. (@ 98th), Oakland, CA {MAP}

    Zahava Smoking Gift Shop : 2382 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, CA {MAP}

    Confirmed "Head Shop" List
    The following locations have been confirmed as having a minimal (token) cigar selection and poor storage conditions (at best) while specializing in drug paraphernalia and the like.

    Puff 'N Stuff : 4051 Foothill Blvd., Oakland, CA --- 510-533-3161
    This is an "alternative shop" you might say. They specialize in dope pipes and porno. I don't have anything against it but they are not a shop you would go to find a quality cigar. (Review by:

    Whelan's Smoke Shop : 2486 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA -- 510-549-3218
    This store is not for the faint-of-heart. It's in a bad neighborhood where you have to dodge street people to get into the place. The store itself immediately strikes you as dirty. Mediocre selection and questionable storage conditions make this place an "emergency stop" at best. I asked about humidors and accessories and was told that there wasn't much call for them in "this neighborhood". They only take cash too. (Review by: Rich Young)

    If a cigar shop or cigar bar/lounge you frequent in the East Bay is not listed here, please let me know by e-mail, or submit a listing (partial or complete) or review and I will add it as soon as possible.
    Happy smoke trails,
    ~ Mark Howard aka

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