An Evening With Fidel...


A Canadian, a Jew, and a Nurse walk into a Cigar Bar…

A way better title opening than Star Wars and far more realistic, for example, “A Jedi, a Wookie, and a Gold Robot with feminine qualities walk into a Tavern”. See my point?

While you’re arguing in your head about the validity of my opening statement, let me break down how the evening started…


                Scuffling away from a locked door at a wine bar that oddly enough, closes at 5pm on a Saturday, I immediately contemplated throwing in the towel for the evening and grabbing some fried chicken before the loser drive home. Knowing I have a review due in the morning, I turn on the mental afterburners and bang a left into a well known Cigar shop…appropriately located next to the fried chicken place, more on that in my next review!

                Having no wine and no actual plan at this point, I stumble around the infinitely stacked humidor room staring at everything like it was a sex toy shop, grabbing the shortest cigar I could find, not ribbed for anyone’s pleasure I might add.

                Now I’ve known Castro’s for being a regular go to for anyone wanting to enjoy the game on a barber’s chair while puffin a stogie. For the inexperienced please take note, Cigars are like baseball games, they never end, but that’s the beauty of it, if you can take in either a cigar or a baseball game, you’re a person who takes their time and isn’t apologizing to their boinking buddy 48 seconds after crash landing onto the bedroom mattress.

                For all the times I’ve been in Castro’s, this is the first time I’ve seen what has been in their store name for all these years…a BACK ROOM!!! Beautiful black sofas and chairs, a vintage wood bar with comfy stools, a commendable beer list accompanied by a friendly selection of spirits (order the Ron Zacapa Rum) and a lovely but devious bartender, whose angelic smile only drew you into her blitzing sarcasm; which could pierce the armor of a World War II German Tank.

                As I proceeded to sew the up holes from her tongue bullets, I am greeted by a couple from across the intimate bar. A nurse from Colorado and her beer loving hubby from Arizona who began asking why I was having such a tough time lighting my cigar…probably because I suck at it. Also, don’t inhale a cigar, your better off wrapping your lips around a car exhaust while your friend crushes the gas pedal.

                Insert the Canadian, who obviously had to remind us that they have provinces in Canada. Yeah, we get it, not all of us in this fading republic are that stereotypically stupid!

As the glass became empty, the stories became exaggerated and the insults started flying, it suddenly had become clear to me. THIS IS A TRUE BAR. This isn’t where you go to stare at your stupid phone or glance hatefully across the room at another huge group of drunk girls. This was a true social setting, a place where decisions were made more rapidly than anywhere in Congress. I felt at home in that barstool. I could’ve grabbed some fried chicken and came right back. (ENOUGH WITH THE CHICKEN!!!)

Did I get my wine that night? No. Did I get my fill that night? Without a doubt.

Castro’s Back Room is a more than a Cigar Shop/Bar; it’s a reminder that the truth is only a cigar and glass of whisky from being heard. So just pick a cigar and your favorite beer and soak in the glory of the verbal firefight that usually dissolves into awkward name-calling and Rodney Dangerfield impressions. As for that bartender who could leave any patron sobbing and sucking their thumb (photo evidence pending), She brought us all together as if we were all high school buddies, yet we were merely strangers, but while under her watch…we were all friends.


Castro’s Back Room

972 Elm St Manchester, NH 03101
(603) 606-7854