The former Montage Hotel’s upscale Ten Pound bar in Beverly Hills was probably the best kept cocktail secret in Los Angeles before it was forced to close due to the pandemic. The high-end spot hidden above the hotel’s restaurant (which was Scarpetta, then Georgie, and is now the Terrace at Maybourne) was an ideal place for a quiet postprandial drink and cigar, and featured some of the city’s rarest booze.
Now the space is back thanks to the hotel’s new owners, who have done a fantastic job of revamping the dim room under the new (somewhat milquetoast) name Cigar and Whiskey Bar which opened last month. The decor has a cleaner, more modern aesthetic, but retains its very exclusive feel with an outdoor mezzanine patio overlooking the park. In addition, ownership built out a much more substantial cigar humidor that instantly makes it one of the best places in Los Angeles to have a smoke and sip on excellent cocktails.
In its previous life as Ten Pound, the bar was definitely more focused on the booze front. The bar was even branded one of the only official Macallan-approved bars in the world, the other being in Dubai. But now the Cigar and Whiskey Bar is less focused on name-brand scotch and instead offers a wide array liquor from across the world. The scotch choices are still impressive, with highlights like Highland Park Thirty-Year-Old priced at a cool $315 a serving, or Laphroaig Twenty-Seven-Year-Old for $165, though everyday picks can still run in the sub-$20 range. Cocktails focus on classics like the Martinez, Boulevardier, or Rusty Nail, each available with standard or luxury booze. Expect a $50 minimum to enjoy the space, though with a drink and a cigar that hurdle is easy to achieve.
While Ten Pound’s booze choices were among the best in the city, its cigar choices were average at best. Now the cigar menu has been upgraded thanks to consultation from a prominent (but unnamed) lounge owner in LA, which means avid cigar smokers will find a lot to like about the new selections. The elegant wood humidor commands a presence in the main bar, displaying just a small portion of the lounge’s 3,000 cigars. Arturo Fuente fans will see an array of Don Carlos, God of Fire, and even an Opus X to choose from. Ashton, a more approachable but no less stellar brand, also has a number of vitolas. Padron has the longest list on the menu, with everything from Family Reserve to 1964 sticks available, though there might even be more rare smokes depending on how nicely you ask.
The food menu is also more extensive than before, with full Osetra caviar service and a number of small bites meant to accompany the drinks and cigars. Steak tartare, a Cuban sandwich, tempura snow crab claws, and Hawaiian tuna crudo highlight that section, with a daily entree for anyone in need of a full meal.
Overall, the new Cigar and Whiskey lounge is a commitment to a specific kind of upscale nightlife that feels even more particular when in Beverly Hills. The city itself banned smoking in public places a couple of years ago and even prohibited the sale of tobacco outside of four specific lounges that received grandfathered permits: Nazareth’s, the Grand Havana Club (which is a member’s only club), the classic Buena Vista Cigar Club, and the Cigar and Whiskey Bar, which retains its paperwork from the previous tenant. It’s a good thing the Maybourne thought it was important to reopen this lounge.