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Written by Puff Staff

Monday, 06 June 2005

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brick and mortarcentral cigars

"Central Cigars" cigar bar in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida offers a fun, relaxing atmosphere where you can share the camaraderie of fellow smokers, play billiards and enjoy top-shelf libations. It's like the "Cheers" of cigar bars, "where everybody knows your name". I paid a visit with my friend Tagore and his charmingly cute sister, Simone, whom we all agreed is a professional heartbreaker.

Kevin, Simone and Tagore at Central Cigars St. PetersburgSt. Petersburg is one of my favorite West Coast destinations in Florida. The beaches of soft white sand, and inviting turquoise waters make for some of the best beaches in Florida. Fort DeSoto Park ranks in the top ten beaches in the United States. Also in St. Pete, the world's largest collection of the artist Salvador Dali's works can be seen at the Salvador Dali Museum, and the Florida International Museum houses a permanent Kennedy Gallery exhibit, complete with a replica of the Oval Office. (I must go there and find the stash of Cuban cigars.) 

The downtown area of St. Petersburg has an array of shops, restaurants and museums. On a Saturday night, downtown St. Pete is party-central. Music spills into the air while club patrons overflow into the street from the clubs and many outdoor cafés. It makes for great people watching and puts us in a festive mood as Tagore and I head for Central Cigars, which is located on Central Avenue, of course. Simone met up with us later to share drinks and swap stories about dealings with the opposite sex.

The retail area of Central Cigars has an extensive collection of some the finest premium cigars. As a matter of fact, I jumped at the chance to purchase two smokes that I haven't seen at several other establishments. I bought two CAO cigars; the CAO Brazilia Anaconda (read my review here) or (buy it here) and the CAO Italia, which I haven't smoked as of this writing. My choice of smoke to enjoy while hanging out at Central Cigars was the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Maduro No. 7, as I knew it would last about 2 hours.  

Central Cigars has been in business for 8 years, and our host this evening, David Ludwig, has been there for seven of those years. Not only does David have a great knowledge of the cigars, sundries and libations, but with his history at the business, he has lots of great stories, like the time a fight broke out on the back patio. David also has a sarcastic, witty charm, which adds to the personality of the service, and the story-telling. The surroundings are what you would expect from a cigar bar; posh and "clubby".David Ludwig of Central Cigars

There are several areas to enjoy yourself at Central Cigars. There is sidewalk seating in front, where you can enjoy the outdoors and do some people watching while you smoke. Just inside the front entrance is the retail section where you can shop 15 different brands the over 100 cigars they represent.

After the retail section you walk through swinging doors, reminiscent of the "Old West" saloons, albeit considerably shorter, into the cigar bar. This is where you can have your cigar expertly clipped and lit for you, while you order your drink accompaniment. I am amused by the signs throughout that read, "Cigar Smoking Only". 

Continuing our tour, the next accommodation we encounter is the handsome, polished wooden cigar lockers for members only. For $500 per year, you can store your premium stogies right here. Beyond this, we enter another room that includes large leather chairs, large-screen TVs and billiards tables. This is the smoking den. There is also a back court yard, and a private members room is under construction as of this writing.

If you are going to be in St. Petersburg, be sure to visit Central Cigars, 273 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL 33701 and tell them Kevin from Cigar Review sent you.

Central Cigars
888-898-8994 (toll free)
727-898-2442 (local)
CentralCigars.com - (Visit web site)




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