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Written by Staff

Monday, 25 February 2008

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Rich Castiano started smoking cigars as a teenager and hasn't stopped. He opened a second location of The "World Famous" Cigar Bar at Gulf Coast Town Center in October. "When most kids smoked cigarettes, I smoked cigars," he said. "It's my passion, cigars."

His passion for cigars means he travels to the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua to find cigars for his bar. "We have a direct relationship with all the factories," he said. "I'm hands on." He also makes sure his staff is educated in the ways a cigar can be blended.  Manager Randy Santerfeit came to The Cigar Bar with more knowledge of alcohol than cigars, but said learning about cigars is similar to learning about wine, since the way tobacco is grown and blended affects the flavor of the cigar. "We're not a bar that also has cigars," he said. "We treat each equally." Tom Cavinger stopped at The Cigar Bar after a round of golf and has been to the bar a handful of times since it opened in October. "This is our stopping place before we go home," he said. "Good cigars and cold beer."

The Cigar Bar features a walk-in humidor lined with Spanish Cedar and kept at 70 percent humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  The humidor is also home to about 60 lockers for people to rent out for $500 a year. Locker membership also includes access to a VIP room, monthly cigar and alcohol tasting events and a discount on cigars. Cigars at The Cigar Bar are hand-rolled and all-natural and range from $4 to $45 for a cigar.

Castiano said he's thinking about opening more Cigar Bars around the country and said his Gulf Coast Town Center location will be the blueprint for future stores. "They're all going to look like this," he said. "Everything had to be perfect." But at the end of the day, The Cigar Bar is a place where he can light up a cigar and relax.

The humidor at The Cigar Bar is kept at 70 percent humidity and 70 degrees. It's lined with Spanish cedar, which owner Rich Castiano says helps age and preserve the cigars.
About The Cigar Bar

• What: The "World Famous" Cigar Bar
• Where: Gulf Coast Town Center in San Carlos Park
• Hours: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Happy hour from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• Details: Visit CigarBarLive.com.




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