Best Tobacconist - 2009
Jon's Pipe Shop
Tucked in a storefront at the north edge of what passes for Clayton's downtown, Jon's Pipe Shop has a mahogany-and-oak interior straight from the nineteenth century. The shop stocks hundreds of cigar varieties and is tended by a staff that's capable of conversing just as gregariously with the newcomer as with the seasoned connoisseur. It may well be that our smoke-resistant present may have just caught up with Jon's antiquarian past: Tobacco is an epicurean luxury to be savored, not manically inhaled twenty times a day. As with food or wine, you want to know what you're smoking, where it came from, how it got here, who made it. Honestly, Jon's is anchored in a Arthur Conan Doyle universe where people use tobacco the same way they sip a fine Cognac or discuss books after dinner. But it's here, now, which makes it the place where you can buy cigars to share with your friends over beers in the back yard. Along the way, it won't hurt to introduce yourself to a world a lot bigger than yourself, one that was here before you and will be here after you're gone, and one these guys have spent a lifetime studying, knowing full well that there's always more to learn. Plus, pipe smoking is sexy again.