TALK ABOUT OUTCASTS. IN AN increasingly tobacco-antagonistic society, cigarette puffers pale next to cigar smokers. But now, there's a sanctuary for the stogie crowd, albeit a pricey one.
Havana, a private Beverly Hills club for cigar smoking, opens in March. With a charter membership that spans the generations from comedian Milton Berle to actor Jason Priestley of Beverly Hills 90210 and is open to both sexes, the club costs $2,000 to join and $150 per month. Members have their own private humidors on premises, where they also can eat and drink. "This is an incredible oasis," says Joe Pantoliano, an actor (Risky Business, The Fugitive) who co-owns the joint with veteran restaurateur Stanley Shuster.
To them, the club concept is the best defense against the march of antismoking legislation. A number of restaurants around the country host cigar nights, yet new local laws ban any smoking in public places. Arnold Schwarzenegger closes his entire restaurant one night a month to avert Santa Monica's new ordinance and host his stogie shindig.