First Visit to Iwan Ries - Anything I Should Know?

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jonasclark

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 4, 2013
741
387
Seattle
I'm visiting a friend in October, will be in milwaukee, Madison and Chicago, and I've finagled a stop at Iwan Ries, a pipe pilgrimage for me. I'm a collector first and a smoker second, but I hope to buy a pipe there-- just something I can say I bought there - and some tobacco. I've looked extensively through the website. Is there anything others who've been there suggest I know ahead of time?
I understand they were one of two buyers of old stock Bekler pipes when CAO moved over to cigars, though I don't know how many they have left. I'm usually more into meerschaum. I see they carry estates, but focus on big briar makes; I'm not sure if the store carries any more esoteric ones, or antique pipes, on occasion. Do the people tend to be friendly if I have questions? And with, I'm told, a massive stock "in the back," if there's something they have that I might want but isn't out, are they able to just access it on demand, or is that a "come back next week" thing-- or is what's "in the back" only very similar to, if not the same as, what's out on display?
 
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bluegrassbrian

Your Mom's Favorite Pipe Smoker
Aug 27, 2016
6,077
53,327
41
Louisville
I've never made it while in Chicago, but I've had a non-pipe smoking friend stop in a couple times for me.
They've always been gracious and helpful for her - a non-pipe person with a "list of funny names that are supposed to be pipe tobacco".
 

B.Lew

Can't Leave
Jun 24, 2020
465
5,959
SE Michigan
Lived just south of Iwan Ries for better part of a decade. You need to know that they have an amazing selection of pipes, cigars and tinned tobacco. Their lounge is beautiful but poorly ventilated. Oh, and parking is going to be pricey if you’re driving. I’d suggest downloading and using SpotHero if you’ll be arriving by car.
 
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pappymac

Lifer
Feb 26, 2015
3,295
4,328
Take plenty of money.
I haven't been there on any of my past trips to Chicago but I hear that pipe smokers going there is like being a kid in a candy store. You may wind up buying more than you plan.
 

Sir Yak

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 15, 2022
215
643
Arkansas
They are friendly. You’ll be fine—they like pipe people. Feel free to browse as much as you want. They have drawers full of pipes to look through. They’ve got estates. They’ve got a wall full of tins. It will be great. Like most pipe shops—you will be very aromatic after you leave. If you’re going a lot of other places afterwards you’ll be the smelly guy😆. You will not regret making the effort to go there.
 
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daveinlax

Charter Member
May 5, 2009
2,000
2,707
WISCONSIN
Take the blue line if you can or park in the millennium ramp. Street parking is good but every block has a parking cop with a tow truck standing by. The city/county tobacco tax is incredibly high. Ask if you want something you don’t see, they only display a fraction of what they have in stock.
 

Jbrewer2002

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 17, 2023
611
4,514
Somerset Ohio
My friend Arthur is a yearly member of there upstairs lounge. Every time I go to smoke with him the store is already closed. I’ll be back up in a few weeks and hope to find time to visit one day while there open. The upstairs lounge is very nice.
 

Elric

Lifer
Sep 19, 2019
2,195
9,900
Liplapper Lane (Michigan)
tobaccocellar.com
I bought a Neerup Rhodesian there during a business trip about 15 years ago when I ended up staying at the Crown Plaza Silversmith across the street. Quite the adventure in terms of the sheer number of smoking instruments they have in stock. Think of it as a pilgrimage to the holy land for pipe smokers and you won't be wrong.
 
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sfduke

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 14, 2012
219
246
Call and/or email then before with your request. They will have all the inventory ready for your visit.

Make sure enjoy the lounge upstairs afterwards with your purchase :) One of the best lounges in the US.
 
Jan 28, 2018
13,057
136,583
67
Sarasota, FL
Great experience, super nice and knowledgeable people there. I'd argue it is the premier B&M in the country. Word of warning. Park in a valid parking place and if there is a meter, pay it. They'll tow your vehicle before you can get into the door.
 

AJL67

Lifer
May 26, 2022
4,733
24,987
Florida - Space Coast
Was there a long while back, then it was a nice area and we walked all over the place, now not so much, glad i went back in the day and experienced it so i don't have to bucket list it next time I'm visiting friends outside Chicago.
 

litup

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 16, 2015
729
2,229
Sacramento, CA
I was there this past summer. As everyone else is saying, their customer service is top-notch and super friendly. I was not prepared for how friendly they were. It was like white-glove treatment without the white gloves. They did have an extensive collection of pipes but I was more impressed with their tobacco selection. They had several blends in stock that are routinely sold out everywhere else.

I also paid the $20 for access to the smoking lounge that day after I had finished shopping and browsing through the store and I thoroughly enjoyed that respite from the bustle of the city their lounge provided.
 
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Jbrewer2002

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 17, 2023
611
4,514
Somerset Ohio
You should know your budget and stick to it. It's a veritable "candy store", very easy to over do the spending and therefore end up in a seedy, budget motel, eating candy bars and bemoaning your lack of self-control. You've been warned!
Are you speaking from experience? 😉