Cigar Aficionado

Smoke Causes Headaches At Casa Fuente

One of the world's most famous cigar bars is fighting to stay smoky. Casa Fuente, the Las Vegas showcase for the many cigar brands made by Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia., has been forced to ban cigar smoking on its spacious patio. The owners of the store, lounge and cigar bar are in the midst of a plan to restore smoking to the patio, but it could take several months before it's complete.

Casa Fuente is located in The Forum Shops at Caesars Mall, an extensive series of mall shops connected to Caesars Palace on the Vegas strip. It has two parts. Inside is a cigar store with rarities made by the Fuente family in the Dominican Republic (including the house cigar brand named Casa Fuente) and small bar serving mojitos and other fine drinks. The main sitting area is on the patio, which seats 65 and is located outside the confines of the store. While smoke inside the store is ventilated by a store filtration system, smoke on the patio vents into the mall.

Casa Fuente was forced to stop the smoke on the patio after a retailer complained about the smell. Michael Frey, one of the store's owners, is working to fix the problem.

"It's a two-pronged process," Frey told Cigar Aficionado. "We're going to start retooling our air filtration system ... phase two is we're going to extend the store. By the end of the year, we will, hopefully, enclose the whole patio."

Big crowds are sure to come to Casa Fuente when the IPCPR trade show hits Las Vegas this summer, and the Big Smoke returns in November. Frey hopes the process will be done in time for both events, but can't be certain.

Enclosing the patio will bring back the cigar smoking, but that construction phase cannot begin until the mall completes a plan to redesign an escalator that presently runs parallel to one side of the patio. The new design calls for straightening the escalator, which will change the footprint of the patio. "It will cut out a little bit of our space," said Frey.

"It will be a different feel, but I'm excited—it will give me more control over what I can do with that area," said Frey, who plans to put in more televisions so patrons can enjoy sporting events. He also said the construction, which the mall is helping to fund, will allow for a lease extension.

"It's not such a bad thing," he said. "It will be a new and improved Casa Fuente. Casa Fuente will be there for a long time."

"8 years of operation and now some retailer wants to complain? I don't go to Vegas without my daily stop at Casa.Regardless,I'll be supporting what ever changes are made. It's already the perfect cigar spot and if they make it better that's great. I look forward to getting back to Casa soon. I just want to thank Michael Frey for having the best cigar bar and GM Mike Fayerverger in Vegas." —April 18, 2013 08:26 AM
"It never stops! Every day another great place losing ground. I hope the renovation goes well!" —April 10, 2013 00:53 AM
"That is a shame." —April 5, 2013 12:46 PM
"Great place!" —April 5, 2013 11:29 AM
"I was in Vegas last week and was disappointed when I couldn't enjoy my cigar on the patio (I still enjoyed it with a few beverages inside) so I look forward to my next trip where I can relax in the new surroundings." —April 4, 2013 22:57 PM
"It's all my fault. I booked a trip to Caesar's for June and was really looking forward to visiting Casa Fuente. I should have known that something would go wrong!" —April 3, 2013 12:26 PM
"I look forward to the "new and improved". " —April 3, 2013 12:22 PM
"I go to "Vegas" a few times a year its a great place I go to relax, meet friends and have a good Stoogie while my wife shops. I was surprise when I heard about this the weekend before Super Bowl several months ago,they been there for years and the management desided to shut them down over night so there Aficionado's can't smoke in the patio, I feel for "Casa Fuentes". Anyway, I know It will all work out ,it be better than before, in any business there's allways room for improvement. Good luck" —April 3, 2013 11:24 AM
"Casa Fuentes is a great place to enjoy a stick. I visit Casa Fuentes, every time I'm in Vegas. I'm glad that something is being done about the problem. " —April 2, 2013 19:04 PM
"David, I think this is good news. I couldn't wait to visit CF when I attended last years big smoke. I knew I was getting close to the shop because I could smell the cigar smoke getting stronger while walking the mall. Didn't bother me, but I am sure there have been complaints, lord knows. Once inside I couldn't believe how thick the smoke was. I have been to close to a dozen cigar lounges all over the U.S. and never encountered a fog like that. Yes, they were busy and that surely had something to do with it. But I believe they really could use some more air movement in the room. Then it will be perfect! Less for the non-smokers to complain about, the more relaxed the environment will be for us. Nothing worse than going to a cigar lounge for a smoke, only to be chewed out for having a smoke! Only in America..." —April 2, 2013 17:36 PM
"This is so frivolous. I bet the complaining party was the incense or perfume shop down the way in the forum. Kudos for the Fuentes for taking a stand, building an enclosure and making one of the best cigar lounges and bars even better. " —April 2, 2013 17:12 PM
"hope everything works out for everyone. when i get there next month thats going to be my first place to visit,casa fuente." —April 2, 2013 16:42 PM
"That sucks to hear David as I will be in Vegas on Friday for the weekend. I enjoyed the feel of smoking a cigar outside the shop. Too bad. I will be at the bar smoking you can bet. " —April 2, 2013 15:43 PM