February was a busy month for me. I took a small hiatus from the intense writing we do here at Stogie Press as I had to travel over to Germany for business and spent most of the month there in the frigid cold trying to find ways to enjoy my cigar stash after work. I have to seriously empathize with my brothers and sisters of the leaf in the cold winter section of this world. If you don’t have a shop that is open late or a warm indoor smoking cave I don’t know how you all do it. Most nights I would get out of work after the lone cigar shop in town closed, so I would bundle up in layers, find some cushions to cover the outdoor metal seats the hotel had, and try to sit outside in freezing temperatures to enjoy a good smoke. Dammit, that is hard to do and I have great respect for those that do this during those cold winter months.
Luckily for me the La Casa del Habano shop in Nuremberg is open late Thursday through Saturday. All I had to do was get my name on the list to reserve a seat. So for at least one or two nights on the weekend I had the chance to relax in warmth and enjoy a fine assortments of cigars.
Of course most of these pleasures were Cuban but I did enjoy a few from my travel stash. The last night I was there, I took the time to sit with Fabian Kroemker – resident tobacconist and all around great guy – to talk about the lounge, cigar smoking in Germany, and his personal roots in the tobacco industry. Fabian has been working for the lounge since August of 2015.
Fabian himself comes from a deep heritage in the German tobacco industry. His great ancestor (direct blood line) founded Cremer Zigarre (Cigar) in Hitdorf, Germany near Leverkusen on the river Rhine. The company produced premium cigars until finally closing its doors in 1965. His other grandparents owned a cigar factory in Heppenheim that specialized in short filler cigars from 1889 to 2003 when it was finally sold to a bigger wholesaler which then stop the manufacturing.
His Grandmother, Irene Seiler, started in the business in the 1970s with a cigar magazine and then founded her own shop – Rauchkultur Seiler– which she still owns and operates today. The shop is located in Bensheim, Germany. Fabian himself worked at his Grandmas shops from when he was a 12 year old lad.
Though we wanted to get there to visit the shop, we ran out of time in our travels. The next time I have a weekend in Germany I will travel to see her.
I asked Fabian about the history of the Casa del Habano lounge. I remember it from back about 5 or 6 years ago wen I first traveled to Nuremberg on business. Fabian explained that La Casa Del Habano is a franchise licensed from Habanos S.A. in Cuba. The original owner, Miss Christania Klever had the franchise from February 2006 until 2012 when ownership changed to Friedmar Mueller who also runs 6 tobacco shops in main train station here in Nuremburg. It was also around this time (2007) that Germany began passing stricter tobacco laws and made it difficult to serve beverages and allow smoking, so the lounge enacted a private club status. Originally this required patrons to purchase a yearly membership. Over time that model shifted to patrons signing up for a seat in the “private” upstairs lounge for after hours (beyond 8PM) when the downstairs shop closed. As we in the US anticipate the passing of the deeming tobacco regulations this is a model that we may well be following if shops here are no longer allowed to have smoking.
The Casa Del Habano was original two shops in one. The first floor was known as Casa Del Puro and was the cigar shop and the upstairs was the Casa Del Habano lounge. It has since been combined into one. There are two large walk-in humidors, one on each floor. The first floor (shop) has a full line of Cuban cigars some of which are available only in Germany along with special Limited Edition and Regional blends including the Partagas Salomones which is one of their best-selling cigars. The Second floor (lounge) is stocked with Dominican and Nicaraguan cigars covering 8 major brands, including Perdomo, Ashton, and Davidoff.
I asked Fabian how well non-Cuban brands sell with all the Cuban cigars available and he noted that the Ashton Paradiso and the San Cristobal Revelation Leviathan sell very well. This just goes to show that when both Cuban and non-Cuban cigars are available on the shelf, the best of the blends will continue to be sold and that there is room for both.
In addition to the fine selection of cigars and cigar accessories the Casa del Habano in Nuremburg,offers top notch libations including aged rums, scotch, tequila, cognac, and vodka along with fine wine and of course German beer. Thursdays through Saturdays the host special closed events that require you to call ahead and get your name on a list. Once the seating is full, the list closes, so call ahead early if you want to attend, especially if you are coming with a group.One these nights is a figurado evening which is a gathering of cigar lovers where they get to check out a featured cigar and discuss it. Live entertainment will begin once the spring time arrives.
Being such a fine establishment, it has drawn a number of local celebrities including German comedian Mario Barth, body guard Peter Althof, and even a Nobel prize laureate. Of course you don’t have to be a celebrity to enjoy a fine cigar at the Casa del Habano in Nurenburg as everyone is treated like a special guest. The atmosphere is warm and inviting. Even I, with little ability to speak the language was able to have conversation whenever I was there. So if you are ever in Nuremberg Germany, stop into the Casa del Habano and tell them Boston Jimmie said hi.
The shop is open Mon through Saturday 11:00 to 20:00 and the Lounge is open Thursday to Saturday 19:30 till the last person leaves but you need to get your name on the list for the lounge.
They are located Hauptmarkt 9, 90403 Nuremberg
+49 (0) 911 97 46 690