Any cigar enthusiast has their favorite cigar lounge, whether it's a luxury bar in a foreign city you've visited or the club down the street where you meet friends. Depending on the type of cigar lounge, you'll hear a common set of words used to describe them: "sophisticated," "casual," and "convivial" come up a lot — in positive reviews, anyway.
Environment is a critical factor in pleasing guests and making sure they come back: according to a 2012 study, "atmospheric characteristics such as colour, design and illumination influence young customers and ... have an effect on recommendations and repeat visits."
You've probably got some ideas about the environment you want to create in your cigar lounge, whether you're a business owner or are about to make your cigar lounge dream a reality — either with public venue or in your home. From location to ventilation to interior decor, everything contributes to the experience you or your guests have.
To increase your chances of success, we've gathered some of the aspects of cigar lounge environment that you can't afford to overlook — including location, smoke eaters and decor — and given you ideas for how to get them just right:
Location and service for commercial cigar lounges
For those opening a cigar lounge as a business, the venue you choose will begin to set the scene for your new enterprise. You may be limited by your budget and what the real estate market in your area has to offer, but consider how location will begin to build an atmosphere: A strip mall has a different vibe than a standalone building, a suburban location exudes a distinct atmosphere from an urban locale.
Some possibilities to consider: shopping complexes, airports, sports complexes, hip dining and entertainment areas, or business districts. You may picture your cigar lounge as a destination, a midday stop during or after business hours, or a luxury upgrade to a sports or travel experience. The location you choose may be determined by the clientele you want to attract, and what you end up selecting will influence the patrons who do end up walking through your doors.
Do you plan to serve coffee or alcohol or both? These decisions may impact where you locate your cigar lounge, especially if your area has restrictions on liquor licensing. They will also contribute to the vibe. Are you going for more of a coffee shop feel or a cocktail bar?
Outside of liquor licensing — which may or may not be a hurdle for you — the location you choose will also determine other local laws and ordinances that affect your business. That may include restrictions on smoking indoors and requirements for ventilation of your cigar lounge.
HVAC and smoke eaters
One of the most essential components of a cigar lounge is a system to eliminate smoke and create a comfortable atmosphere. While a pleasant whiff of cigar smoke may be part of the experience, patrons of a commercial business should be able to enjoy the atmosphere without sitting in a dense fog of smoke. If you're setting up a cigar lounge at home, you probably want to reduce and contain the smoke to a designated room to protect yourself and your family. Creating a comfortable environment and clean indoor air comes with a thorough smoke elimination system that includes a home or commercial smoke eater.
In addition to a standard HVAC system to shepherd air through your space, you will likely need a powerful, commercial smoke eater for your new business or a residential model for your home. Size matters — depending on the square footage of your cigar lounge, you may need a unit ranging from 200 CFM to 2,100 CFM. CFM stands for "cubic feet per minute," and is a measurement of the velocity of air flowing out of a space.
These factors will come into play when choosing the right smoke eater for your cigar lounge:
- The size of the space, including the height of the ceiling
- Where in your space you want to or can install a smoke eater, be it the wall, ceiling or floor
- The capacity of your room or bar and amount of patrons or visitors you expect to have smoking at any given time
Different models of smoke eaters can be installed depending on the needs and aesthetics of your cigar lounge, from units that are surface-mounted, flush-mounted or wall-mounted.
Find a professional company that works with individuals as well as cigar bars, vape stores, hookah lounges, drinking establishments, and similar businesses. Experienced professionals can provide advice and support for your smoke eater purchase and help mitigating the dangers of cigar smoke, including working within your budget.
Of all the byproducts produced by different types of smoking, cigar smoke is among the heaviest. Plenty of styles and sizes of smoke eater are available, such as the SmokeMaster C-12 Electronic Air Cleaner. Once you make the initial investment, you may need advice and support down the line, so make sure the company from whom you purchase a unit provides that service as well.
A good smoke eater will filter both contaminants, such as carbon monoxide, and odors. It should work silently and efficiently — enjoying a fine cigar without distracting noise makes for a better experience. Your visitors should also be able to leave your room or establishment without the unpleasant experience of clothes, hair and skin being saturated in smoke.
Take other steps to get rid of the smoke smell on an ongoing basis, including airing out your cigar lounge and regularly cleaning the space and furniture.
Ambiance, interior design and atmopsheric elements
Once your HVAC and smoke eater system are in place, you can get to the fun stuff — picking out paint colors, furniture, artwork and other bar decor to create the perfect vibe in your new business. You may have something in mind based on your favorite cigar lounge or want to explore a completely new aesthetic.
Hire an interior designer or use online resources like Pinterest to help create the perfect ambiance for your cigar bar, whether you want an old fashioned gentleman's club feel, a hipster vibe or a luxe experience. Do you need an actual bar? In that case, a remodeling contractor may be required. Layout, lighting, flooring and color scheme — all contribute to the experience your customers will have. Don't forget the music — creating the perfect smoking playlist is essential!
If you're starting a new business venture, that's an exciting — and often once-in-lifetime — enterprise! You want to do it right and ensure long-term success. Many businesses fail within the first three years of opening their doors. Avoid being a statistic by following all the steps to establish a great environment for your patrons.
However, just dedicating an area of your home to a hobby or activity you enjoy is a special experience. If creating a cigar lounge you can enjoy while relaxing at home is a dream of yours, don't just rely on opening the window for quality indoor air. A home smoke eater will help protect you and your family from the harmful effects of indoor smoke.
Cigar lounges present some unique challenges, one of the most prominent being the creation a comfortable vibe, including breathable, quality indoor air that minimizes smoke smell. Making the right smoke eater purchase from a reputable, experienced company will help ensure the that your business thrives over time and you realize the professional satisfaction you deserve.