The Napoloen Brings a Swanky Cigar Lounge to Old Town Scottsdale

In the 1958 noir crime film

Touch of Evil

, classic movie actress Marlene Dietrich made a comeback as a cigar-smoking bordello madam. Dietrich's hard-cut elegance blended brilliantly with the setting -- a shadowy, secret world where thrills always came kicking around corners.

Now, picture a place like that in Old Town Scottsdale (without the famous actress and prostitutes), because on January 28, The Napoleon opens on Stetson Drive with a deft blend of '40s and '50s style and an exclusive, posh bent.

The Napoleon's located in the large suite that used to house the lounge area of the Estate House restaurant, and includes a fine cigar vault, a full bar featuring classic cocktails, a huge lounge, a billiard room, live jazz music, and three patios with stunning views of Old Town.

General Manager Scott Von, who prefers the title "Director of Fun," sums up the Napoleon vibe: "Think Monte Carlo and James Bond meets Madmen, not Castro/Miami Vice."

Napoleon's owner, Napoleon Smith III, says he's looking to create an atmosphere with a members-only club that provides amenities other cigar lounges in town don't: Patrons can smoke fine cigars and drink classic cocktails in the same place (even inside), watch classic movies projected on the brick wall outside (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was playing when we were there), and be waited on with diligence by attractive cigar girls in black fishnets who cut and light stogies.

The interior décor and furnishings are from the Estate House, so people who've been might recognize the plush velvet couches, comfy leather chairs, and shiny wood tables. Three patios are also fully furnished with futons, tables, and curtained gazebos, and the north patio looks down on the waterfront.

Added bonus: The Napoleon has a great wine selection. We had a house-picked Cabernet Sauvignon that was so good it made our lips numb.

Ultimately, the biggest appeal of the place is the ability to indulge in alcohol and cigars in a posh, relaxing environment. Unfortunately, when The Napoleon opens, that ability will be strictly members-only.

Memberships cost $100 for the "Associate Membership," $200 a month for the "Individual Membership," and $350 for the "Corporate Membership" (which can include up to five people). Guest passes are available for a lower cost, and members can also bring guests.

Scott Von says the memberships are already selling fast, and if people want guest memberships, they should call ahead of time to get on the list.

The Napoleon is scheduled to officially open on Friday, January 28, at 7134 E. Stetson Drive, Suite 300, in Scottsdale. Call 480-970-7890 or visit www.thenapoleonclub.com for more information.

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