Last month when I went back, we went to visit their creation and I was absolutely impressed. Their vision was beautifully realized in the warm and classy way that they had sketched out on paper just a few months before.
Located in a strip mall, part of their plan, you see a few neon cigar signs (including an elaborate one of their logo). From the outside, you might be deceived into thinking that you are entering a run of the mill corner smoke shop, however once you go through the door the experience changes.
You are greeted by fine wood humidors, and an island in the center with some additional display cases and the cash register; a unique layout that feels more open and less like a retail store. Behind the island they are staffed with several of the most attractive smiles you will find in the Chicago-land area. This, being only half of the place, already feelt unlike most of the cigar shops that I have visited; enticing and chic, but not at all pretentious. They nailed it.
Beyond the island in the center is an inviting Moorish arch (Casablanca-esque) that goes into the other half of their location; their smoking lounge. The layout is simple, on one side you have luxary seating and on the other you have a coffee bar (with bar seating) and their "Premium Humidor" with their top-shelf cigars and private cigar lockers that are available to a limited number of clients.
The seating is laid out well and allows for multiple groups to converse independtantly on plush leather chairs. In addition there is a 4-top which would let someone eat or work comfortably on a laptop. The bar seating is ample and comfortable (but no Keith-style drinks unfortunatly).
The Casablanca feel contines with murals representing some memorable scenes from the movie framed by more of the distinctive arches. And, of course, they have a well place large screen television that does not pollute the character of the space.
The smoking club experience was right on. The air extractors were realativly quiet, the ceilings were high, and the ambiance posh. It was well staffed, but did not feel one bit like a bar or restaurant. They were attentive, but not pushy- and who can complain about an attracitve woman cleaning your ash tray.
Beyond the experience, which is nothing less than 5 star, their selection is very complete. They carry all of the top brands as well as a good variety of fair priced cigars. Although I am a BYOC guy, I selected a Joya De Nicaragua Torpedo (Belicoso?) for my father- one of my old favs.
My experience at Bogie's Fine Cigars was a great in every way. It was especially satisfying to see the vision of the owner's become a reality. Anyone in the Southeast Illinois / Northwest Indiana area that enjoys cigars should definalty pay them a visit.
Bogie's Fine Cigars
17816 Halsted StHomewood, IL 60430-2012
UPDATE: July 26, 2008
Cigar Review has a piece related to Bogie's Grand Opening including some photos of the store. Although it appears to be a couple months old, I just heard of it now:
Bogie's Fine Cigars & Smokehouse Holds Grand Opening