Meet a Lower Manhattan Business: Barclay-Rex

There aren’t many places in New York City for smokers to puff freely, but Barclay-Rex has been catering to tobacco lovers since 1910 with no plans to stop.

“People are looking for a place to smoke,” said owner Vince Nastri, whose grandfather opened the first Barclay-Rex pipe and cigar shop on Barclay and Church streets. Rex was his Great Dane.

To accommodate folks in need of a stogie break, the Broad Street shop recently expanded its smoking lounge to seat 22, added longer evening hours, started selling espresso, and installed lockers for regulars.

The business staple remains handmade, lightly varnished pipes that first attracted early 20th century customers who were sick of the heavily stained ones that are tough to break in. Many of those clients continue to come by as well as a younger following longing for “Mad Men” days when smoking was celebrated.

“We have customers that go back to the 1940s. They are still smoking for enjoyment,” said Nastri, noting the shop sells more than 15,000 types of cigars to accommodate everyone’s preference.


75 Broad Street