Take a walk back in time with me as I introduce you to the the Suburban Tavern & Restaurant and Cigar Lounge in Reading, PA. The city, is approximately halfway between the state’s most populous city, Philadelphia, and the state capital, Harrisburg (as well as about halfway between Allentown and Lancaster). It was also the home of the now defunct Reading Railroad, which if you played Monopoly, you know it is one you always wanted to own. Established in 1748, Reading, PA was settled by German emigrants and is also known as “The Pretzel City”, because of numerous local pretzel bakeries. Currently, Bachman, Dieffenbach, Tom Sturgis, and Unique Pretzel bakeries call the Reading area home.
Reading is also home to the Suburban Tavern & Restaurant and Cigar Lounge. Housed in a building that dates back to 1911, the tavern has been family owned and operated since 1954 and since June of 2003, Gary Poltonowicz and Mary Miller have been welcoming patrons and strive to maintain that family feel. The patrons would smoke cigars on the outdoor patio and when the second floor tenant, the Pennsylvania Dept of Transportation, moved out, Gary was convinced he should build a cigar lounge on the second floor. As Gary told me, “the rest is history“.
The Suburban Tavern & Restaurant and Cigar Lounge is technically in Mt. Penn, PA on the outskirts of downtown Reading, PA roughly 3 miles off the Benjamin Franklin Hwy, right on East Perkiomen Ave.
The Suburban Tavern & Restaurant and Cigar Lounge was the 3rd stop on my Independence Day weekend, tri-state cigar lounge tour and I would like to thank Gary for helping to sponsor my visit. If you enjoy fine dining, premium cigars, and top shelf spirits, then Suburban is a must if you are near the Reading, PA area.
My host for this tri-state tour (Daniel Nina) and I, arrived in time for a full dinner in the restaurant. The menu is extensive and starts with a sublime selection of appetizers – two of which are a must have:
Cigars – Spring rolls stuffed with black beans, jalapenos, Monterey Jack & Cheddar cheese Calamari Steak – Hand tenderized Calamari that is lightly breaded and pan sautéed in olive oil and butter served with Marinara sauce. The Entrées are exquisite. The night we were there, Daniel and I shared two of them, the Bourbon Steak and the Zesty Salmon. The steak was a one of specials that evening and it was cooked to perfection and prepared my palate for the cigar evening I was about to embark on. Before the meal, I started with a dirty gin martini (shaken not stirred), which was made exactly to my liking. Based on the martini, I can assure you, the bartender (Gary’s daughter), knows what she is doing.
After dinner, and knowing Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf were waiting upstairs for us, it was time to head up to the Suburban Cigar Lounge to kick back and enjoy some conversation, cigars, and spirits. The lounge is accessible through a separate entrance, up a stone and wrought iron stairway, just off the outdoor patio. As you walk in the lounge you enter a cozy outer room that houses the checkout counter, a leather couch seating area, and the large walk-in humidor that is framed by glass paneled french doors. The charm of the second floor has been maintained down to the original wood slat floors, window trim, and ceiling. In fact the whole establishment has that early 20th century character to it.
The humidor will not leave you wanting for a premium smoke. Whether you like big names or small boutique pleasures, the Suburban has plenty of craft to choose from. I noticed they have a full collection of Black Work Studios and DBL Cigars. Gary also noted, they are big supporters of Cigars for Warriors and run regular events to support the charity.
The outer room is just the beginning. We walked through an entryway into another seating area and then entered an even larger seating room that was arranged different from most lounges I’ve been to. The seating in the larger room was set in a circular pattern so everyone can engage in conversation and that is what we did. We spent a good amount of time getting to know each other and sharing stories and knowledge of the leaf.
Further back from the sitting room, is a small bar that is well stocked with some of the best whiskey, gin, tequila, vodka, rum, and cordials. They even have a Guinness tap – which is always a plus in my book! Let’s be real, spirits and cordials are fine parings for a cigar, but when you want a brew, I will go with Guinness and a cigar.
After hours of conversation, cigars, and libations, it was time for Gary to close the lounge. I could have stayed for hours more talking to this interesting character of a man.
To see and learn more about the Suburban, check out the videos below as I talk to Gary about the Suburban Tavern & Restaurant and Cigar Lounge.
I would sincerely like to thank Gary and his Suburban staff for their warm hospitality. The hours I spent at his establishment will forever be memorable. The patrons were equally warm and inviting. We had a terrific discussion about cigars and non controversial life topics. Even Craig Vanderslice, a long time Facebook friend and fellow cigar blogger, came out to enjoy the fun. If you don’t know Craig, check out his blog at http://www.cigarcraig.com
If one night was not enough, Daniel and I stayed overnight in Reading and went back to the Suburban for Saturday morning Bagels, Coffee, and Cigars.
Suburban Tavern & Restaurant and Cigar Lounge is located at:
2201 Perkiomen Avenue Mt. Penn, Reading PA 19602
You can reach them at:
The Suburban Cigar Lounge is open 5 days a week (closed on Sundays & Mondays) with the following hours of operation:
The Suburban Tavern & Restaurant is open 5 days a week (closed on Sundays & Mondays) with the following hours of operation: