Big Ash

We review Nice Ash Cigar Bar.

The entendre-laced names declare, in no uncertain terms, this downtown Waukesha establishment to be a no-kids zone. But as I’m sequestered in the Nice Ash Cigar Bar’s basement – the, um… Ash Hole – the vibe while playing in one of their weekly (and legal) poker tournaments takes me back to my youth.

Dad sometimes had friends at our house for low-stakes poker, and they’d laugh the night away over cheap drinks and cheaper cigars. He’d even let me watch a bit, so long as I didn’t betray his cards. My first poker face. Seems my modern-day poker face, judging by the poor tournament results, needs work. But sipping on a fine snifter of Glenmorangie Lasanta scotch, chosen from a binder’s worth of worldwide whiskey and beer options, I don’t mind.

Amid the pungent wisps billowing from my competitors’ not-so-cheap cigars, surely plucked from the massive walk-in humidor upstairs, and after friendly chats with the staff and proprietor Joette Barta, I feel at home here. Is it worth the drive to 323 W. Main St. in Waukesha? You bet your ash.

‘Big Ash’ appears in the November 2015 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the November issue on newsstands Nov. 2

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Howie Magner is a former managing editor of Milwaukee Magazine who often writes about sports for the magazine.