Well we’ve been working our way south in anticipation of reaching Cigar City, USA! Which would be in Ybor City Florida, which is actually in Tampa Fl.
After several adventures and a couple misadventures we finally made it down here and this place is full of cigar adventures.
There is so much going on down here with regard to cigars that I don’t hardly know where to start
First let me tell you a little bit about Ybor City to set the scene!
The city was founded in 1885 by a group of cigar manufacturers led by Vincente Martinez-Ybor. Originally populated by Cuban and Spanish immigrants who worked in the cigar factories.
Shortly thereafter Italian and Eastern European Jewish immigrants followed establishing retail shops, farms, grocery stores, box factories print shops and other businesses catering to the cigar industry.
The city grew rapidly blending the areas different cultures of origin a new Latin Culture unique to Tampa.
The city continued to grow through the 1920s and the cigar manufacturers were producing almost a half a billion cigars a year, giving Tampa the nickname “Cigar City”.
The Great Depression kicked their ass and the then factories had to close and others had to lay off the bulk of their employees which pretty much ended the “hand rolled” tradition.
After WW2 the demand for cigars increased again, but the industry had mechanize and were using machine rollers and did not rehire the skilled artisans
The area declined through the Fifty’s and Sixty’s, but even though it has grown as a cultural area, the last remaining cigar manufacturer is J. C. Newman and while I’ve not been to their plant as of this writing, I hope to write more about the soon.
What we’ve been doing
I figured I would start off telling y’all about what we’ve been doing the first few days here and let the story develop from their.
The first day here we went downtown Ybor City to King Corona Cigars. The place was very busy, but most of the action was out on the patio right on the street.
So we had a Capachino, which was nothing like what we were drinking in the Dominican Republic and we were a bit disappointed.but smoked a nice stick called Victor Calvo, maduro . I enjoyed it enough to buy another one to take with me.
We sat out by the street and enjoyed the antics of those passing by and those seated in the area. It has amazed me how much traffic their is in the Tampa area and there was no shortage going by King Corona.
This place is huge even though the humidor is standing glass cases where you open the doors instead of walking in.
We sat their for a couple hours and I remembered that my friend Kelly from Sturgis S D lives in the area, so I sent him a text to let him know we were in the area.
Shortly thereafter he texted me back to let me know that he and his friend Tom were at a place called the Blue Torch not too far from where we were.
Alright, so we hopped on the bike and headed over their.
The Blue Torche
We arrived at the Torche where Tom and Kelly’s scooters were parked out front (sorry I forgot to take Pics) which tends to happen when I get excited about going to a new cigar bar, especially when I know then one their.
The Blue Torche was a nice lounge and they have a nice size humidor, not real big, but with a nice selection.
I always enjoy getting to see friends from Sturgis, since most of us only see each other once a year, but because I travel around so much, I’ve the pleasure of seeing many of my friends from their more often.
Another Friend From The Adventure
While we were in Pennsylvania for Christmas, I got to check in at the Cigar Shoppe in Ellwood City (they were the very first story I wrote as Cigar Pals) and made a new friend named Mike.
I found out that Mike was from the Tampa area and we had been talking about coming down to Tampa, since it is so rich in cigar history and venues.
I mentioned this to him and he gave me his number and said to contact him if we got down her, so that’s what I did and we made plans to meet at the Cigar Depot in Brandon, which is just south of Tampa.
I’ve been to a few Cigar Depot shops, but most don’t have a lounge, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
we were in for a surprise, this particular store has a seating area just as you walk in and then they have a nice big lounge in the back of the store.
The whole store is a humidor and they are packed with everything from the big manufacturers to bundles of inexpensive, but then quite nice sticks.
I hope to make it back over their again before we leave Tampa.
The next night I checked out Tampa Humidor, which I am enjoying very much. I’ve been in here three times and find the place to be an awesome place to get then work done, while chomping on a stogie.
The folks here are quite friendly and informative. They have a huge humidor packed with then awesome selections at very nice prices.
Right now I am smoking a Diamond Crown Julius Caesar and find it a most enjoyable smoke, creamy with then nice complexity. The other day, I had an CAO Amazon Basin (one of my favorites).
This Is Just The Beginning
This is just the beginning of our adventures in Cigar City and we anticipate a lot more. We hope to visit J C Newman in the next couple of days and we will also be visiting the Museum, where we anticipate learning a lot more about the history of the cigar industry in Ybor City.
We also anticipate visiting with Bayer, who travels around in a mobil humidor to the motorcycle rallies
We have also heard about other cigar bars that will need to be investigated.
So check back frequently in the next week or so to see what new cigar adventures we are having here at Cigar Pals.
Don’t forget to leave comments below and feel free to ask any questions you may have.