Cigar store in Thousand Oaks

by Annette Meisl

Annette Meisl Oaks Cigars California

In January I visited my 93-year-old uncle in California. A group of visiting rocket engineers told me about an iconic cigar shop in Thousand Oaks. So I just went. The shop belongs to five Armenian brothers who have a total of three cigar stores. I immediately felt at home. The sales room is full of spirits, some fine wines among them, especially the boys seem to be into unusual types of whiskey! A bar and a few shelves on the wall still bear witness to the former Cigar Lounge of the Old Oaks Cigar & Wine Co, which was a popular meeting place for aficionados until the Corona crisis. Like the La Galana cigar salon in Cologne, Albert and his brothers had to close the space during the lockdown and the online business took off. Now boxes are piling up there and have driven away the old Chesterfield furniture.

Full video on YouTube

While I'm taking photos with my uncle and my cousin, a guy with a hat runs across the room and Albert calls out to me, he's a well-known Hollywood producer, hahaha and the guy laughs back, don't talk nonsense and disappears into the toilet. Yes, Albert tells me, he is, a lot of people from Hollywood come here, take a cigar, sit between the boxes and enjoy the peace and quiet.

This is my place! I love the smell of tobacco, the dust on the bottles, the creative clutter, the warm owners, the funny American smokers. Marvel at the American “Cohiba” and “H.Upmann” that are hidden between the cigars that the family rolls in Honduras, like I mean La Galana. It's like a beehive, customers are buzzing in and out and I'd love to stand behind the counter and help sell. Instead, a day later I asked one of my uncle's neighbors, who also works in Hollywood as a visual effects artist, if he could "briefly film" me for a YouTube video using my cell phone.

He shows up with his great SLR camera, skillfully takes on the role of director and then says, oh dear, that's 100 GB, I can't cover that for you. So Eli Jarra has no choice but to edit the video for me too. And I'm bursting with pride to now have a little "real Hollywood film" to call my own! I hope you enjoy it! Thanks to everyone involved, especially Eli Jarra, Claus Meisl, Chris Meisl and Albert from Old Oaks Cigar Shop.

Cologne, March 2nd, 2023

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