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Inhale the atmosphere

Central Cigars will open an 1,800-square-foot cigar bar Thursday.

By PIPER JONES CASTILLO

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 28, 2000


Late-night poker games. An after-dinner treat accompanying a snifter. Lively debates with a slowburner in hand. Cigar lovers may cherish such images.

Beginning Thursday, visitors to downtown St. Petersburg will have a gathering place for sitting a while and enjoying Central American tobaccos wrapped in Connecticut shade. Central Cigars, operator of the Cuesta-Rey Cigar Bar at Tropicana Field, will open a cigar bar inside the storefront.

"As far as I know, we are the only cigar bar in the area," says Greg Haddad, owner of Central Cigars. "Cigar bars have become a mainstay around the country for people who enjoy cigars. They came out of all the tighter rules in smoking in public."

Haddad, whose business is 4 years old, spent $100,000 and six months on renovations.

The retail division of Central Cigars, with more than 50 brands ranging from $1.35 to $29.95 (for a limited Padron Anniversario Millennium made in Nicaragua), will continue in the front of the 2,500-square-foot business.

The new bar takes up about 1,800 square feet. A 25-foot mahogany bar, where beer and wine will be available, is the store's new centerpiece. In the separate smoking room, filled with oversized chairs, a pool table and several televisions, are 34 climate-controlled, private cigar lockers, available yearly for $395.

Central Cigars, 273 Central Ave., is open Monday through Saturday. For information, call 898-2442.

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