A cigar bar is a relatively loose term that encompasses many various cigar dedicated establishments. Strictly speaking the birth of the American cigar bar was a product of a combination of factors, primarily the cigar boom of the 1990s and the increasingly prevalent smoking bans in cities around the country.
Some cigar shops have always had a lounge element to them, but it was always more out of convenience than necessity. Today, the indoor smoking bans keep people from smoking in offices, restaurants, coffee shops and even in a club or a bar.
The smoking ban laws generally provide exceptions for a cigar bar and some other smoking dedicated establishments. As a reaction to this, many cigar retailers have either modified their existing establishments or built new stores to fit within the exceptions’ definition of a cigar bar and to better meet the needs of patrons who want to gather for a smoke.
A cigar bar can be a cigar shop which consists of a large walk in humidor, and a room furnished with couches and easy chairs with TVs on every wall. Another form a cigar bar can take is as a cigar bar and full liquor bar. That type of cigar bar is becoming more popular in many metropolitan cities.
A cigar bar will frequently be equipped to serve food, but this can get sticky with some of the smoking bans which determine the cigar bar exception based on percentage of retail sales attributable to food or other non tobacco products. A cigar bar will often take on a gentlemen’s club culture where the local regulars create a community at the bar.
To help foster this community a cigar bar will often have a locker humidor which allows the regulars to store their cigars on site by buying a storage locker. If the cigar bar does not sell alcohol, you can often bring your own and enjoy it with your cigars. While many of the people who are driven from restaurants by smoking bans are cigarette smokers, many a cigar bar does not allow cigarette smoking in the bar.
Some notable cigar bar examples are the Cuesta-Rey cigar bar at Tropicana Field in Tampa, (home of the Tampa Bay Rays), Camacho Cigar Bar at Comerica Park (home of the Detroit Tigers), the Private Smoking Club in Cincinnati, Ohio which claims to be the first American cigar bar, the Grand Havana in Beverly Hills, California, Club Perdomo in Thailand, and Kipling’s Cigar bar in Manila, Philippines.