Shelly's Back Room

Cigar Bar / Restaurant
Shelly's Back Room Situated just two blocks from the White House and guarded by a saluting five-foot Native American statue, Shelly's Back Room is one of only a handful of DC establishments where folks can still get together for an indoor smoke... Washington, DC United States 38.897429 -77.030811
3.6 6
Shelly's Back Room - Cigar Bar | Restaurant in Washington, DC.
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Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Situated just two blocks from the White House and guarded by a saluting five-foot Native American statue, Shelly’s Back Room is one of only a handful of DC establishments where folks can still get together for an indoor... ... read full review

  • Metro:

    Blue, Orange, Red Lines: Metro Center

  • Phone:

    202–737–3003

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    M–Th 11:30am–2am, F 11:30am–3am, Sa noon–3am, Su noon–1am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Shelly's Back Room Review

The Scene

Situated just two blocks from the White House and guarded by a saluting five-foot Native American statue, Shelly's Back Room is one of only a handful of DC establishments where folks can still get together for an indoor smoke...

Situated just two blocks from the White House and guarded by a saluting five-foot Native American statue, Shelly’s Back Room is one of only a handful of DC establishments where folks can still get together for an indoor smoke without suffering the evil eye from suburban yoga moms and soy milk-drinking herbivores.

In fact, just behind the red door, politicians and diplomats relax on club chairs and sofas to sip Willett Bourbon Whiskey and puff away on smoldering Ashtons, unapologetically blowing gray circles of smoke into the air.

Framed cigar boxes give a nod to the same premium brands for sale in the display case, which are frequently paired with the bar’s excellent selection of rare bourbons, whiskeys, and wines.

Both cigar connoisseurs and novices cull through the lengthy tobacco menu before settling into the lounge, where they join international travelers, after-work regulars, and savvy young politicos pulling their favorite stogies from one of the two hundred personal humidors.

Although Shelly’s Back Room also offers a small but hearty selection of American dishes, the obvious draw for the mostly male crowd is the chance to enjoy a guilt-free smoke in an upscale and relaxed setting.

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Tip from Jonah:

Even though Shelly’s uses a $140,000 Kleen-Aire Fresh Indoor Purification System to keep the cigar aroma to a minimum, you WILL leave smelling like cigars. If that’s a problem…why are you going to a cigar bar in the first place?

  • Crowd

    A mostly male mix of young professionals, politicians, judges, cops, DC interns, and international travelers, late 20s to 40s+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Four TVs tuned to sports or local news.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    American menu including roasted wings, grilled salmon, and crab cake sandwiches.

  • Prices

    Appetizers $8–$13, soups and salads $5–$12, entrées $10–$35.

    Beer $6–$12, wine $7.50–$18/glass or $25–$70/bottle, bourbon, rum, whiskey, and scotch $6–$300/glass. Cigars $9–$60. Humidor lease $850–$900/year.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Business casual to upscale: business suits and sports coats, slacks, dark jeans with a button-down or sweater, black dresses, nice pants with simple tops.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Weekdays for a mellow scene, or any time the weather outside is frightful and the (cigar) fire is so delightful.

  • Close By

    W. Curtis Draper (640 14th Street NW), the oldest full-service tobacconist in the District and the fourth oldest in the United States.

Shelly's Back Room User Reviews

Average rating:
It's like being in my living room
Barry R. Sep 18, 2012
My friends and I have been going to Shelly's for almost 15 years and every time I walk in it looks like nothing has changed. . . same bartenders, same drinks, same comfy chairs. When we were under 21, they would let us drink as long as we were dressed like republicans and now that we are older. . . they ID us to make us feel young. We have had many a night that I don't remember at Shelly's and we have never been kicked out for our antics nor have we ever understood why our bill was so expensive at the end of the night. The bar is like a men's club and the only women that seem to show up are hookers and my buddy Jason's fake girlfriend who is probably a hooker that he brings around us. I recommend this bar if you want to impress someone, pamper yourself, watch a football game, or smoke a cigar.
Best Cigar Bar in the City
Paul F. Sep 6, 2012
Shelly's Back Room isn't just my favorite cigar bar in DC, it's my favorite bar in the city. Obviously you need to be prepared to smell like an ashtray when you're done, but the small intimate space makes you feel like you've entered a bar fresh out of Mad Men with stiff pours and comfy Chesterfield couches. TVs always have the game on and there's usually a political bigwig or pundit lounging about - but the appeal for me is without doubt the food. I will go on record and say they have the best crab cake sandwich in the city. In addition I will vouch for their crab dip which is equally amazing. This one room spot, filled with 30-something suits may sound a little stodgy to newcomers, but ultimately it's an old-school boy's club where smoking a cigar and drinking a scotch is simply a routine activity.
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