Ha Cortez. My wife still teases me about the time I went to Iwan Ries and spent more on parking then I did in the shop.
I showed her though. We went back the following year and I spent ten times as much in the shop then I did on parking.
@mso489 - The name of the shop in Park Ridge was Bob Rowe's Evening Pipe Shop. It's long, long gone now - Bob passed around 1996 IIRC. Amazing place, though - I grew up in PR and stopped in there regularly (maybe... um... before I was 18, but either old Bob's eyesight wasn't so hot or he just didn't care). By the time I got there, it wasn't much of a gathering place anymore, but you could still feel the echoes of the glory days.
But yeah... these days, it's just Up Down and Iwan Ries as far as I know. Both are very well-stocked, though neither strikes me as especially conducive to friendly conversations and lingering. There are a couple other smoke shops on the north side I've stopped in, but they mostly just do cigars and cigarettes. You might scrounge up a pack of cleaners or a better-than-drugstore blend in a pinch, but they're in no way worth a trip.
This is so funny. I just moved to the Chicago area and today I was trying to find a store with a good selection that wouldn't require driving in to the city (I'm south of it, just in to Indiana) and couldn't find a thing!