How to Start a Cigar Club: 7 Tips to Finding Your Ten Best Men

Sep 17, 2018Latest, Pro Victoria

There’s a great saying: God can’t steer a parked car.

Neither can we. With a cigar club or with anything worthwhile the key is to get started. And it’s a funny thing; once you start on a project, things begin to fall into place. You learn as you go. With anything in life the key is to get started and not quit. Once you realize the benefits of having a cigar club in your life, it’s easy to start one because you know it’s worth it and what you learn in the process makes it even better.

Here’s another golden key—if you laugh or you learn, you win. I’ll show you a way to do both.

If you haven’t yet, check out our article, Why You Should Start a Cigar Club. Here, we are concerned with how.

Make Your Cigar Club a Conspiracy, and Get the Numbers Right

Three to five men is certainly enough, but build to ten.

The reason ten is a good number is that then you have at least three groups of three men and once the evening gets started you want fluidity and motion to the event. Three groups of three makes that happen. You’re the tenth man as the host. A cigar club is like any club—you want everyone to feel welcome but also to feel a sense that they are special.

If you can find a good friend or neighbor, a buddy, to throw the first get together with you it’s more enjoyable. The thing here is that sometimes good friendships are built on a harmless conspiracy. Grab a guy you think would enjoy doing this and say, “Hey, I’m thinking of starting a cigar club. You, me and some buddies.” Lean in, smile, nod your head, and, BOOM. Then, “What do you think?” He’ll say, “You bet.” If he doesn’t then move on to another friend. Trust me, men like clubs, men like cigars, and one of the most remarkable things about this effort is how much we all like to be invited.

Keep it Loose

Men do like well-orchestrated get togethers, but we ourselves don’t like to be orchestrated. It’s one of those rules of the universe. We like orchestration but don’t like to be orchestrated, at least not until we trust the guy doing the orchestrating. That’s a different topic for later. By keeping it loose, I mean the details. “My place, 8:20, Saturday. Don’t feel obligated. Just know you’re invited.” Perfect.

Keep it Light

When you invite someone he may wonder what to bring, what to do, or he just might be a cigar expert himself.

Say, “If you want to bring something, bring two cigars and something to drink, whatever you like, but if you come empty handed, there will be enough for everyone.” That’s a great way to do this because the key is understatement and not making someone feel like it’s a big deal, because it won’t be until you’re all enjoying cigars and conversation together.

Don’t be a Wind Bag

If you know about cigars, great; we share what we love. However, nobody likes to feel he’s being schooled. The idea is to be a good host. The key to being a good host is making men feel welcome, comfortable and that they can be themselves. If you know cigars, share but listen first. Listening is a life skill. Learning to listen is one advantage of hosting. Not knowing about cigars might be better because
you let others share what they love.

Manage the Numbers

It’s great to start small, maybe three to five men, but cigar clubs get even better when you get three groups of three, so build to that and maybe a little larger. If you want to tap into the genius of a small group of close friends you respect, work toward your Ten Best Men. Inevitably, once you start your cigar club it will grow; not every man attends every time. You’ll likely find some men come and go and that keeps the club interesting. For this first effort the key is to start.

As you learn, your own confidence will grow and then things just get more interesting. One other thought on managing the numbers—encourage men to bring something but don’t make it mandatory. Men like to contribute and it helps us say yes, so let your guests know they can bring cigar gear if they have any. Cigar gear would be cutters, torches, punches or anything else they want to bring.

Have a Fire

All men like what fires are—primal sources of light and heat that are dangerous—but most men don’t consider what fires do for fellowship.

Cigar clubs promote fellowship and fires improve cigar clubs. Fires help conversation a lot and here’s why: The real benefit of a cigar club is the friendships you make and friendships are built on good conversation. Fires foster great conversation. In my experience men come to clubs and gatherings because they seek betterment and companionship. It’s inevitable that serious topics other than cigars come up. Women, politics, money, fatherhood. Being better sons, brothers or friends. These matter and a good definition of a memorable evening is, “Talking about things that matter with men who care.” We say men, here, because this is primarily for the benefit of men.

Here’s how fires improve cigar clubs: important topics are too intense to discuss face to face. Men will discuss just about anything at a cigar club if we can stand shoulder to shoulder and stare into a fire. We’re looking at a common point that unites us while talking to each other and those around us about serious matters. Having a fire makes it easier to talk seriously. Finally, regarding the fire for your cigar club, there are two approaches: have the fire set up so when everyone arrives you just light it, or ask men to help build the fire when they arrive so they all have a common purpose. If the fire is set up when the guests arrive it’s impressive and they can light their cigars. If men help as they arrive it gives them something to do and they’ll start talking cigars anyway. And, if they know each other, great, but if not they’ll make friends over cigars. Either way, they learn and laugh. Everybody wins.

Be Well Prepared With the Essentials

Here’s where it gets interesting. You’ll want to have some good cigars on hand, so go to a local cigar store. Tell them you’re starting a cigar club and you want to start it right. Ask their advice and ask them to recommend 20 or so cigars with various characteristics at different prices. You’ll learn a lot and you’ll have something to offer, both cigars and a little knowledge.

Other than cigars, it’s good to have the basics on hand. Light snacks, beer, soft drinks and water, wood for the fire, wooden matches, maybe a high speed cigar lighter (what I have heard men call torches) and a couple of cigar cutters. Finally, it doesn’t hurt to have something like charcoal lighter fluid. Remember, the goal is not to impress anyone with how to build a roaring fire from scratch. The goal is to get a big bright fire going as quickly as possible.

Men and cigars, men and fire, men and good conversations about things that matter. This is what the world needs more of and the good news is that we ourselves improve when we give to others. We become connectors, we become big-hearted, and we help others make sense of a world that seems a little crazy sometimes. Go forth and conquer. Hey, I almost forgot—have plenty of chairs!

Shannon McGurk

Shannon McGurk


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