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."