Walk into the building at 212 N. Canal Street in Chicago’s Fulton River District and you’d be forgiven if you thought it was a high-security safe house for some top secret corporate venture. You’re greeted by a fellow seated behind one of those corporate reception desks and there is no evidence of anything cigar. Trust me, you’re in the right place: The Clayton.
This is a stand-alone, 14,000-square-foot building on the Chicago River. The part you want to visit is 2,800 square feet of cigar store and lounge on the first floor.
The glass humidor, which occupies the front of the store, is full of top-shelf cigars. The Arturo Fuente Añejo S.S.S. Shark No. 77 is there. So is the Fuente Fuente OpusX Lost City. A couple of Warped cigars are featured. There’s a lot of Davidoff, Padrón, La Flor Dominicana, My Father and a selection of Ashton. You can also find Liga Privada in the glass cube. Choose your smoke from among the 200 different cigar types and take a seat in the small lounge in the back or along one side of the humidor.
There are about 20 seats in total in the shop. Enjoy the gray-green leather chairs at the marble tables next to the open windows. The espresso from the restaurant next door pairs nicely with the cigar. You can take in your own beverage here as long as it’s not alcoholic, and you can order in food as well. You can bring your computer and use the available Wi-Fi under mid-century style chandeliers if you can avoid the distraction of the Cubs and White Sox games. It’s also a great place to hold a small business meeting while enjoying cigars. Call and see if a table is available.
This is an elegant entry into the cigar shop world of Chicago, a city that has become increasingly difficult over the years when it comes to finding a place to enjoy a cigar. The owners of The Clayton, which opened in 2016, traveled throughout Europe to get ideas for the store’s design. The tile in the lounge area evokes an old-world feel. Photos on the walls clearly tell you where you are, with a black-and-white triptych photo of a woman smoking a cigar occupying a space of honor.
The Clayton holds regular events with cigarmakers or spirits company representatives offering samples of their beverages. The Clayton also offers the usual accessories, kept behind glass along one wall.
The staff at The Clayton is very friendly and helpful to new smokers in choosing what they might like and will advise you on where to get good coffee or food nearby. Get there early as the shop closes between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.—depending on the night—and is closed on Sunday. Clearly that’s a bit of a disadvantage if you want to enjoy a cigar after dinner, but The Clayton is a welcome cigar stop in a part of Chicago that is severely underserved.
212 N Canal St.
Phone: (312) 757-8910
Open Monday Through Wednesday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thursday and Friday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.