Spend some time in Tampa Bay. It won’t take long to realize that cigars are woven into the city’s cultural fabric. Once the cigar-making capital of the world, one only needs to walk the cobblestone streets of historic Ybor to see how Latin cultures from Tampa’s cigar-making heyday have become an important part of the region’s heartbeat. At the industry’s peak, over 200 cigar factories produced 500 million cigars annually in Tampa. Dubbed Cigar City, the nickname stuck and so did the region’s affinity for lighting up a stogie. It’s not surprising that Tampa Bay is home to celebrated cigar bars. Whether a novice smoker or a cigar aficionado, we’ve rounded up Tampa Bay’s best cigar bars featuring impressive selections, noteworthy amenities and a unique atmosphere for your next smoke.
Grand Cathedral Cigars
2201 N. Florida Ave., Tampa | (858) 829-7249
Named Cigar Journal’s Best Lounge in the World for 2022, Grand Cathedral Cigars is an elegant, expansive Tampa lounge designed in the 116-year-old former First Congressional Church of Tampa. The project is in part helmed by Carlos Fuente Jr., of the iconic Fuente cigar family. As such, Fuente iconography and photos adorn much of the space. The first floor of the lounge and patio with a koi pond and fire pits are open to the public. The interior is quite a sight to behold and live music from the in-house piano bar echoes off the cavernous ceilings, adding ambiance to the luxurious, historic space. For cigar connoisseurs, upstairs is members only. An on-site food truck serves a variety of options, including charcuterie and smoked sandwiches. The humidor holds many brands but focuses on Fuente.
Corona Cigar Co.
4142 W. Boy Scout Blvd., Tampa | (813) 513-7560
This stylish, modern cigar bar and lounge is located in MetWest International, set between swanky dining establishments like Texas de Brazil and Thai Prime. This popular social spot draws a lively crowd of tobacco enthusiasts and it is not uncommon to see a lineup of luxury cars in the parking lot. The completely humidified space features a breathtaking assortment of premium cigars and as a Davidoff-appointed merchant, there is a focus on Davidoff. Multiple lounges (including a private members room), a full-service bar with premium beverages and a lively patio make this a must-stop for the cigar lover.
Casa De Montecristo
510 S. Howard Ave., Tampa | (813) 257-9380
In Tampa’s popular SoHo neighborhood, Casa De Montecristo expectedly focuses on Montecristo cigars, but also carries a wide variety of other premium choices. A fully-stocked bar serves both the ventilated indoor lounge and covered outdoor patio. The lounge space is small and cozy, but the owners create a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. With large TVs, it has also become a popular spot for watching sports in SoHo.
Lit Cigar and Martini Lounge
908 N. Franklin St., Tampa
Not your grandfather’s cigar bar, Lit fuses the cigar bar experience with a nightclub vibe. Alongside cigars, hookah smoking is available and the bar specializes in martinis and other specialty cocktails. Dress to impress at this upscale lounge (dress code enforced) with DJs, live music and bottle service in the VIP section. The cigar selection is adequate and contains many well-known brands.
King Corona Cigars
Locations in Ybor City and at International Plaza
King Corona fashions itself an oasis of historic Ybor City. Start with a cafe con leche at the coffee bar and then choose a cigar from the wide selection of popular cigar brands that line the walls of the lounge. Also for sale are cigar accessories, guayaberas and cigars made in-house. Fine wines, imported beers and a Cuban-inspired menu are also available at this popular Ybor watering hole. The indoor lounge is cozy with comfortable seating and the outdoor space offers a perfect spot for taking in the sights and sounds of Ybor. The frequented lounge recently opened a spacious outpost at International Plaza. Surrounded by some of Tampa’s best shopping and dining, it has all the comforts of the original location, minus the Ybor flair.
Cigar Paradise Royal Lounge
400 Beach Drive N.E., Ste. 142, St. Petersburg | (727) 954-8255
Founded by a fourth-generation Cuban Grand Master of handmade cigars, Cigar Paradise takes pride in continuing the legacy of hand-rolled cigars. The boutique lounge is all about luxury, with an exquisite selection to satisfy leisure smokers and connoisseurs. You’ll find fine wines, espresso beverages and premium spirits, along with craft cocktails prepared and presented by expert mixologists. On one of St. Petersburg’s most popular streets, Beach Drive, the lounge is spacious, bright and welcoming with comfortable seating indoors and outside.
Central Cigars & Ruby’s Elixir
Central Cigars: 273 Central Ave., St. Petersburg | (727) 898-2442
Ruby’s Elixir: 15 3rd St. N., St. Petersburg | (727) 898-2442
Central Cigars is a lively retreat on St. Pete’s bustling Central Avenue. It was one of St. Pete’s first comprehensive cigar lounges and has remained popular since its opening in the late ‘90s. With a robust collection of the most popular premium cigar brands, it’s a known smokers haunt and is always energetic. In 2011, the owners opened Ruby’s Elixir adjacent to the cigar space, the only smoking-friendly live music lounge with a full liquor bar. Ruby’s features jazz, blues, rock and funk nightly with no cover charge.
Know about the history of Ybor City and cigars? Learn more here.