Best Place to Spend a Few Quiet Hours: You don???t need to smoke cigars or drink coffee to fall in love with Leaf & Bean in the Strip District. The vibe is so deliciously mellow and the space so wonderfully stuffed with an eclectic mish-mash of vintage décor that you???ll come for the caffeine but stay for the atmosphere. Best part: The air quality is reasonable, even when several customers are puffing away. If only Leaf & Bean had evening hours. The schedule varies, but most days, the shop closes by 6 p.m. If you use Google to find the establishment???s website, don???t be confused???several coffee houses around the country are named Leaf & Bean but have no relation to this Strip District favorite. 2200 Penn Ave., Strip District; 412/434-1480. ??? Melissa Rayworth
Take a walk down the block and enter the Leaf and Bean and you are instantly swept away from Pittsburgh's cracked sidewalks to Key West, Fla.'s sandy beaches and stalwart palm trees. There, former Marriott executive Jim Robinson, and former corporate personal financial engineer, Sunny Kroser, rein over their loyal base of smokers, luring them with hand-rolled cigars and coffee roasted on the premises.
But, possibly most important, they offer an escape: mosaic-covered tables, beach knickknacks, seashells and fishing nets cover the walls, ceilings and shelves, allowing one to pretend they have left Pittsburgh's typically wet, gray climate for warmer environs.
"I wanted to grow my hair long and stop wearing suits," Robinson said, explaining why he left his cushy job with Marriott to open a shop in the Strip.
Leaf and Bean is Voted Best Cigar Bar in Pittsburgh!
Readers' Poll: Best Cigar Bar: Milk and cookies, tea and crumpets, coffee and... cigars? OK, so that might not be the most likely combination. But the brains behind Leaf and Bean cigar and coffee shops have seen the potential in the unexpected pairing and have created an attraction that's downright smokin'. With a walk-in humidor featuring scores of cigars, fresh roasted coffee, live music on Saturdays and free WiFi, Leaf and Bean offers something for everyone, even some in Iraq. Curiosity burning? Through its care-package service, you can send cigars, coffee and other novelties to American troops overseas. 2200 Penn Ave, Strip District, 412/434-1480; 3525 Washington Road, Peters Township, 724/942-6670