Zurich introduced smoking restrictions on all public places some few years ago. I personally started to show my aversion against (cigarette) smoking in the 90s when I learnt to enjoy cigars. Savoring Cuban tobacco is no cigarette smoking (pfui); it requires the proper setting: sit comfortably, watch (beautiful) people and have beautiful company.
Flash forward to the winter of 2013 in Zurich: Bleicherweg near Paradeplatz and crowd queuing for clubbing. At first I overlooked because clubbing is not for me. But then I noticed: this was new. A luxurious restaurant on the basement along the river Schatzengraben and a bar lounge upstairs.
I checked it out and became (almost) a regular on Saturday evenings. The Aura bar is a coin with two nice sides: a smoke free lounge and a fumoir. In the latter the humidor offers goodies like the Montecristo A: I love this place. Creatively dressed people stream into the fumoir to take a break from the club (on the other side of the building) or to enjoy the cigar flavors sitting, as connoisseurs (like me) do, on the sofas.
To the smoke free lounge: it is, of course, full on Saturday evening and the female presence is quite intense. It gets packed. So if you wish to sit, come early. After 10, a free table is likely to have the little label ‘Reserved’ on it.
The furniture works well with the light and the music is at the right volume. Conversations are possible: I love this place.