The new Cigar Inn in Manhattan officially opened for business this morning as owners (and brothers) Billy, Gus and Bass Fakih cut the ribbon to the shop, welcoming in a crowd of about 50 patrons and friends. The upscale cigar store, located on Second Avenue between East 53rd and 54th streets, contains the world's first Cigar Aficionado smoking lounge and Cigar Aficionado humidor.
The comfortable smoking lounge, outfitted with leather couches and chairs and a working gas fireplace, occupies nearly a third of the 3,000-square-foot shop. There are 80 humidified lockers available for rental at the back wall of the lounge.
The shop is meant as the complete man's retreat. In addition to a walk-in humidor brimming with cigars from the top names in the business, the Cigar Inn sells a line of men's haberdashery items, with an emphasis on fine ties. There is also a Brioni counter, accessories from Elie Bleu, Dupont, Davidoff, Dunhill and Xikar, a row of Manning humidors and many other items for sale.
The store boasts several flat-screen televisions and a sophisticated sound system; classical music is the preferred sound for Cigar Inn, but when the New York Giants are playing, the game will be on in the Cigar Aficionado lounge.
Two custom-made barber's chairs, imported from Japan, are stationed before two gilded frame mirrors, and a barber will be available by appointment. An old-fashioned shoeshine stand, with two seats, is also part of the shop.
"You don't see this layout in any tobacco shop," said Gus Fakih. The store is three times the size of the original Cigar Inn, which is located on First Avenue between East 70th and 71st streets. That shop (which is one third the size of the new one) will remain open.
|From left to right, brothers Gus, Billy and Bass Fakih.|
The Cigar Inn on Second Avenue is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. until 1 a.m. On Sundays, the store closes at 9 p.m., unless special events are being televised. "If there is any game—any Super Bowl, any boxing event—we stay late," says Billy Fakih.
The clientele is close. After the ribbon cutting, regulars from the original shop took seats in the spacious lounge, firing up cigars and chatting like old friends. Rabbi Jack Brach, a customer, brought a large spread of food to help welcome the guests to the shop. "It's like family," said longtime Cigar Inn customer Paul Chapman, the vice chairman and president of ABC Carpet & Home, which supplied the furniture for the store's lounge. "It's like sitting in your own living room.
To view a video of the cigar shop, see Gordon Mott's blog.