A perfect spot for business travelers visiting the city, the cigar lounge Fellaship is upscale without being pretentious.
When star NFL quarterbacks retire, from John Elway and Peyton Manning to Brett Favre and Vince Young, they seem to have a stereotypical exit strategy: opening a steakhouse. But Cam Newton is walking towards a different hitter, and while he’s certainly a star quarterback, the Carolina Panthers starter is not retired. Plus, he’s not a steakhouse guy. In fact, he’s a vegan. But he loves cigars.
So, Newton and his brother CJ, also passionate about cigars, decided to open a quality cigar salon. They had dreamed of it for years, and as they searched for the perfect site in the Newtons’ hometown of Atlanta, they spent several seasons frequenting the best cigar lounges in the NFL towns they visited, accumulating a long list of likes and dislikes, then methodically started building their perfect salon, Fellaship.
âThe atmosphere is important,â Cam said. âIf you close your eyes and take a mental snapshot of what you liked and remembered, that’s what I wanted to capture. Fellaship aptly debuted with a sweet, albeit jam-packed and star-studded opening for Super Bowl LIII of 2019, which was held across the street at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
âI’m a Bourbon drinker and Cam introduced me to cigars,â CJ said. âHe doesn’t drink, but all these top athletes like Michael Jordan and Ray Lewis love cigars and it made a big impression. In fact, his first cigar was a gift from [Jordan]. âThat was several years ago, and today Cam calls cigars his ‘therapeutic refuge’.
With valet parking, velvet rope on the outside, and casual dress code (except for team gear on game days), Fellaship looks like a nightclub on the street. Inside, however, it’s an upscale contemporary bar with lots of light, artistry, and color, especially blue, the Newton clan’s favorite choice. There are blue leather banquettes, fancy blue wallpaper, and even blue cushions on the inviting brown leather sofas.
Fellaship is made up of two floors with towering ceilings and a half-story loft housing a second bar for the VIP area and members. It is full of original works by local artists and the ground floor is divided into different living room-like spaces, with a wall filled with floor-to-ceiling shelves, complete with a rolling bookcase ladder and a fireplace.
At the end of the ground-floor entrance is the bar, with floor-to-ceiling shelves containing a vast library of whiskeys, mostly Bourbons. These are organized by CJ, who notes: “We have a good whiskey list and a good wine list, but if you’re looking to make tequila shots you’ve come to the wrong place.”
âSmoking cigars is an old tradition, and at Fellaship we’re just trying to modernize that, with a nice vibe and adding things like live music,â Cam said. “All you see here, top to bottom, is me or my brother.”
This includes the menu, as Fellaship has an excellent chef and a full kitchen, making it a restaurant, bar, and cigar lounge all in one. While Newton’s taste leans towards fried cauliflower these days, there are plenty of meatier options like steaks, chops, and lobster tails.
Fellaship’s menu is extensive, with plenty of vegetarian options as well as meatier options like pork chops.
The bar is covered in zinc, a feature the siblings noticed in a favorite cigar den, and lit by globe lamps inspired by a New York underground bar. The walls surrounding it are adorned with classic black and white photos, including Muhammad Ali.
The ensemble is sleek and carefully put together, and while not entirely feminine, the brothers seem to have no problem attracting female smokers. Sometimes women outnumber their male counterparts here, often seen in groups of two, three, and four sitting at the bar, enjoying cocktails and smoking.
The cigar humidor at the back is still filled with smoke from Cigar loverIt’s 25 Top 25 lists, as well as less common offerings like GTO’s Don Emilio (owned by a local doctor) and a private label Fellaship house cigar rolled with a Connecticut wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and charge. During the Super Bowl, they gave one to each guest in the crowded space.
There are nearly a hundred cigar selections including Fuente Fuente Opus X Lost City Piramide and plenty of picks from popular brands such as Liga Privada, Ashton, AVO, PadrÃ³n and two personal favorites of Cam Newton, Davidoff and Montecristo.
It’s a very impressive, welcoming, escaped and upscale launch without being pretentious; a perfect location for business travelers visiting the city.
As CJ rightly noted, âThere are a lot of nice places across the country, but most of them are also nice that you can’t eat, drink, and smoke. Here you can. “
110 Centennial Olympic Park promenade
Atlanta, Georgia 30313
Open Wednesday and Thursday: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Sunday: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.