Best Tobacconist St. Louis 2003 - HSB Tobacconist
There are two basic kinds of tobacco stores: the discount outlet, with cartons of cigarettes on the cheap, and the hoity-toity cigar boutique, with the walk-in humidor and smoking lounge and copies of Cigar Aficionado. Then there's HSB, a cluttered and smoky sanctuary in the middle of the Delmar Loop, under the shadow of the Tivoli's marquee, nestled between Nieja Bend and, yes, the Riverfront Times office. The layout's unusual -- you walk in, then have to trek all the way around the horseshoe-shaped counter to get to the clerk, who will more than likely be surly -- but you get a complete tour of the store's entire contents, from the greeting cards just inside the door to the rear-of-the-store humidor and display of old beer steins and novelty lighters. When the handle on the antique cash register is cranked, a bell dings, and for a second you're transported to a small corner shop in London in about 1880, where Sherlock Holmes might have bought his pipe tobacco. Then you spot the Harley-Davidson and Jack Daniel's Zippo lighters right next to you and remember just where you are.