Cigar Aficionado

Davidoff Columbus Circle Reopens Smoking Lounge

Cigar smokers on New York City's west side now have a smoking haven. Davidoff of Geneva, Columbus Circle, located inside the upscale Time Warner Center, has reopened the doors to the smoking lounge nestled in the back of the cigar shop. The lounge had been closed for months due to inefficient ventilation, but since the store's new manager took over in May, Davidoff's customers can light up on the premises.

"This truly is a new store under a new regime, but with the same great staff," said Michael Herklots, the newly appointed store manager. Previously, Davidoff Columbus Circle was a privately owned franchise, like the Davidoff shops in Las Vegas. Now that the store has been acquired by Davidoff of Geneva USA, it is operated in a similar fashion to its sister shop, Davidoff of Geneva on Madison Avenue in New York.

"The challenge is to take all the positive things that existed in this store before I came, and combine it with all the added benefits of a flagship store like on Madison Avenue," said Herklots, who formerly worked at the cross town shop.

The lounge is partitioned from the rest of the store by glass doors in order to contain the smoke, and is replete with plush leather chairs, a high, sculpted table and a flat-panel television. Large black-and-white, silver-framed photos of the late Zino Davidoff adorn the lime-green walls, creating a modern-looking color contrast. Soft lighting and mellow music also add to the ambience.

"This is an oasis away from the craziness that exists in the middle of a huge corporate center in midtown Manhattan. Your outside business and problems stay outside," said Herklots. In keeping with this idea, cell phone calls are prohibited within the lounge.

"Could you imagine smoking a cigar in this lounge while people's cell phones are going off, and hearing some broker shouting, 'Buy! Sell!'"?

Like the Madison Avenue store, the shop's walk-in humidor is stocked mostly with Davidoff products, with minor differences in third-party stock, most notably Fuente cigars. Exclusive Davidoff, Fonseca and La Aurora blends once offered only at Madison Avenue are now available at Columbus Circle as well.

Lounge use requires a $10 minimum purchase. The hours are Monday to Saturday, 12 to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.