What Does it Take to Start a Cigar Bar?
Cigar bars are a staple of every city. A place to socialize, relax, and enjoy life, a good cigar bar is irreplaceable. However, there are many things you will need before you can start a successful cigar bar.
What does it take to start an awesome cigar bar? A great selection of high-end cigars is a must in a cigar bar, along with the right humidor to fit the location. Razor-sharp quality cigar cutters and cigar punches help start this recipe, but it’s more than just the essentials. Every single detail must be taken care of, including a top-shelf staff.
Keep reading to learn seven things that you will need to start a successful cigar bar!
1. Great Location
Make sure you find the right building for your new venture. Pick the perfect location in the busy city center where people will be able to stop by on their way home from work or before heading out for dinner and drinks at night.
Also, plan on giving cigar smokers a place to go before and after-theatre shows, events, etc. Ideally, you want a place with great visibility for attracting people from the street.
Consider the Costs & Fees
When looking for the right location you also need to consider overhead costs, taxes, and fees. You may want an area that has lower rent or can offer you more space to reduce your cost per square foot. Look for areas with lower overhead to pass on the savings to your customers.
There’s no way around it; building costs are expensive! The top brands usually don’t mind spending a bit extra to get top-quality cigars because they know it’s what their clientele looks for.
The top brands need top-notch humidors and the right location with top-class construction, lighting, and airflow just to name a few things that we’ll talk about later. If you want top brands then expect to pay top dollar.
Building costs are expensive, impeccable brands are expensive, the best humidors are expensive, impressive locations can be really expensive! If you want that top-class cigar bar then the only thing left to do is hope that your wallet doesn’t flinch at these prices because if it does…well…it means there’s no cigar.
2. Make it Unique
When you find the location, here’s where it gets fun and takes some creativity and vision to create the perfect cigar-smoking atmosphere. You want your customers to feel like they can relax and enjoy all their senses when they step into this new space.
Design & Color
Try to think of a warm color palette for the interior design, rich browns mixed with creamy neutrals and a touch of dark reds. Think leather, mahogany, and ironwork. Add in some brass accents and you have yourself a warm inviting space.
When you are choosing your bar top, don’t go with the standard sheet of a glass top for the bar. Go with antique oak or mahogany to match your interior design theme. The bar top should feel solid under one’s hands while they puff on a first-class cigar.
Add some rich leather to the bar stools and you’ll have yourself a quality place to relax with great cigars from the best brands. You can even complete the look by adding an Elegant Puffing Lounge where your elite cigar-smoking clientele can relax and chat about their cigars while they enjoy them. This will give your business the feel of an up-scale cigar bar.
3. Know Your Audience
Think about who would like your cigar bar to attract and cater to that type of person. Cigar smokers are not just old men sitting around anymore! They can be both sexes and span all cultures. One thing that cigar smokers have in common is an expectation of a refined atmosphere and over-the-top cigars.
When thinking of which cigars to carry, bear in mind that the top-shelf brands like Cohiba and Davidoff are not cheap. Customers expect an excellent selection at a top price.
Let’s be honest here. A good cigar bar needs exclusive brands that will attract customers, but it also has to have a comfortable place where customers can relax with their cigar in style.
4. The Humidor
A great cigar bar doesn’t need a massive humidor. You need a place for your high-end cigars along with your more inexpensive ones. There are two types of humidors used for the cigar bar. It is the walk-in and the showcase.
A walk-in cigar humidor is key for your business to be successful. Make sure you research and purchase one that fits your exclusive selection. This may be the most expensive part of starting your business, even if you are purchasing used equipment. Remember…you get what you pay for!
For your humidor, you need one that can hold at least 500-600 or so cigars. Go for an elegant design walk-in style humidor with beautiful antiqued Spanish cedar to assist with moisture control. Remember, this is a place for the best cigars, so make sure they are on display in a top-notch humidor.
A showcase humidor is simply a glass door cabinet. This is perfect for at least 200 cigars depending on size. A glass cabinet-style humidor one is also nice for your more expensive cigars to showcase and keep separate.
5. Food & Drink
Cigar bars are quickly becoming top spots to enjoy a great cigar and an experience. The best cigar bar will offer top-shelf liquors, top beers, and wine along with delicious appetizers.
Many cigar bars serve the best snacks to choose from as well as high-end wait staff for you to serve great food. Appetizers like shrimp cocktail with the cigar of your choice make for an excellent dining experience.
Serving great food is important. You’ll want repeat customers who need not go anywhere else to eat before or after they smoke their cigars at your bar.
For the cigar smoker who has everything, why not treat them to some top-shelf liquor? Serve brands such as Maker’s Mark, Glenfiddich, and 1800. Offer a wide selection of top-shelf liquors that will blend well with the smokey scotch flavor from the cigars.
Many expect a good glass of sherry or amaretto to dip the tip of their cigar before smoking. Something as simple as top-shelf liquor can make a great impression when hosting “cigar events” in your top cigar bar. Even if you do not have top liquor, many bars serve high-quality beer and wine.
This is important to the overall experience of the smoker. Wine goes well with cigars, whether it is top-shelf wine or not, it is a must to serve the best quality Cuban coffee to top it all off!
6. Exquisite Staff Members
Your staff should be well trained to take care of every individual’s cigar experience. Along with first-hand knowledge of the taste, flavor, and length of smoke they desire. When hiring staff, it is probably a good idea to have them like cigars. If they do not like the smoke it probably is not going to be a good fit.
The best staff will not only have extensive knowledge. They will also know the pairing of drinks food to go best with that cigar of choice. This adds to the upscale atmosphere.
Experienced food service staff can be a huge asset in their knowledge of pairing cigars with foods and drinks to enhance the flavor. Staff should also have the knowledge to recommend the right cigar for a customer’s budget, as well as offer assistance in cutting and lighting. Be sure that your staff is polished in appearance and demeanor to add to the refinement of your cigar bar.
Many bars offer high-quality entertainment to go along with the best cigars and drinks. A lot of cigar smokers love the sound of a piano bar or a jazz band, while others may enjoy classic rock. It could be anything from the music you haven’t heard before, classic rock, jazz to R & B.
Make sure you offer you a good selection and know your audience. Cigar bars are becoming the spot to enjoy a cigar and high-end drinks. This is why good music goes well with the atmosphere.
The type of music varies from bar to bar. Having something playing in the background adds to the atmosphere. Most customers take time away from their busy lives to relax and enjoy cigars.
Even if you do not have any musicians set to play, having the right music in the background adds a sense of relaxation that aids in bringing out the true flavors of top cigars.
When setting up your cigar bar it is very important to make sure that cigar smoke does not become too much for everyone else. Cigar smoke is very strong, and when it is mixed with smells like food cooking or someone’s perfume, the powers can be bothersome to customers who are not smoking cigars.
Air purifiers are proven to be a necessity to remove cigar smoke from the air. Many cigar bar owners have found it beneficial to use a combination of both air purifiers and deodorizers in their cigar bars, not just one or the other.
Vents And Fans
An ordinary ceiling fan and vents add to relieving that over the smoky smell and look.
A great cigar bar will have top-quality cigars available for purchase to take home. This is a perfect way to have customers remember their experience when they get home. Something they can take with them is an excellent marketing technique, for it offers the customer something of value after their cigar event has ended.
You can offer cigars in bundles or boxes. While there are many places to find cigars in the United States, finding a high-quality cigar bar can be challenging at best.