The DIY Cigar Bar
By Jason Reschka
When we think of a cigar bar, we envision an elegant, cozy space with warm undertones and soft mood lighting. We think of the sleek but irresistibly comfortable couches or chairs that line the wall, begging to be lounged on for hours. These upscale establishments are where gentlemen (and some ladies) go to nurse fine bourbon, share laughs with friends and puff away at fine cigars. Do you find yourself yearning after such an experience? There’s no reason you can’t recreate the charm and environment within the confines of your own home.
Creating a do-it-yourself cigar bar is simpler than one might think. With the proper research, this can be completed in a cost effective manner, often for under $2000. There are several important factors to consider for any good cigar bar.
Smoking in Style
The whole point of an in-house cigar bar is to relax without ever leaving your property. While there are plenty of details that are dependent upon personal taste, there are several constants for any such set up. First and foremost are the chairs. If it is a repurposed bar, than stools are acceptable, but every good cigar bar has recliners. Leather is recommended for its versatility, polished aesthetic and easiness to clean. However, care must be taken to avoid damaging the chairs with ash or lit cigars. Supplying each seat with its own designated ashtray should cut down on damage. While this seems like common sense, one might be surprised how often a good ashtray is never around when it’s needed.
While the whole point of a cigar bar is to keep smoke and odors in, the rest of one’s family may not have the same love of the leaf. That being said there are measures that can be taken to ensure building a cigar bar doesn’t lead to a one person home.
First and foremost, if you choose to use an exterior room, make sure it will have at least one window to let the smell out when you are finished. The primary concern here would be ensuring that the window is tightly sealed in order to avoid losing any of the experience while smoking. It is also common practice to remove all dry wall, including the ceilings, and replace it with a plastic vapor barrier.
To circulate air, a smokers best bet is to install a ventilation system. The key factor for purchasing a small ventilation system is the rate of exchange, where smoke laden air is transferred to clean external air. Fans rated at or above 200 CFMs (cubic feet per minute) are generally sufficient for this type of task. As with a window ventilated room, proper insulation is key to not losing any of the smoke prematurely.
Ionic air cleaners are another route once everyone has cleared out for the night. These devices use high voltage to ionize, and purify the air. Depending on their level of complexity (and performance) these devices can retail anywhere from $50 up to several hundred dollar.
How to stock up
The first thing to consider is whether you’re creating the room solely for your personal usage, or if you plan on regularly hosting friends and acquaintances. Just like any bar that serves liquor always has plenty of variety, make sure your cigar bar has the same. Stock up on a variety of different flavors, strengths and thicknesses so you are equipped to adequately address diverse preferences; of course, make sure that you don’t order anything you wouldn’t personally enjoy or else they may go to waste. To obtain the greatest variety, try ordering from larger online cigar shops like JR Cigars or Happy Jacks.
As many smokers know, the goal is to keep cigars in an environment of around 70 percent humidity with a temperature that is near the same; this is often achieved through a humidor. This handy tool can range in size, from personal desk top units, cabinet capacity, to full-fledged walk in units. Of course the price corresponds to the size, running from ten dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
For most beginning home cigar bars, the smallest type, which can hold a dozen to a few dozen cigars, should be sufficient. Indestructables, a do-it-yourself MIT brainchild website, has plans for a very basic $5 humidor. While certainly cost effective, the rule “you get what you pay for” obviously applies in this instance.
Dressing up the space is obviously a must. While there are no strict rules about what you may and may not include in the décor, you can’t go wrong with incorporating plenty of wood and reddish undertones. Make sure to set up a way to play background music like smooth jazz. Having dark spirits on hand is a must, as brandy and cigars go together like bread and butter.
Whether it’s chomping down on the end of a Churchill, partaking in a Panetela, or lighting up one of La Casa del Habano’s finest, it’s hard to contend with the personalized comfort of a home cigar bar. Through creative means, an enterprising do-it-yourself spirit, and a little elbow grease, anyone can create the familial atmosphere and feel of their favorite cigar bar within the confines of their own home.