This past Labor Day weekend I took a mini vacation from cigars and Stogie Press to spend some quality time with my wife and stepdaughter. We decided to visit Austin Texas, a city that is alive with music and food. The original idea was to bounce around Austin, going to places recommended by friends and family but that quickly changed when we decided to visit the Alamo which a short 90 min drive from Austin in San Antonio, Texas. Now I know Texas does every thing big, but the Alamo is not one of them. I guess you could say that the “Big” city of San Antonio surrounded this small and famous relic of American History is “Texas big”. So we drive an hour and half and come across the Alamo which is centered in the city with large buildings all around it. I suppose you could say that was cool, but not what I was expecting.
Now this vacation was supposed to be about family and not cigars but by the end of the weekend on Sunday morning it was time to locate the best cigar shop in Austin Texas. Besides, I needed to confer with my BOTLs and SOTLS as to what the term MOPAC stands for. The MOPAC is the name of the loop road that is on the outside of Austin. Our hotel was right off the MOPAC. Directions are given with relation to the MOPAC. I knew where the MOPAC was but needed to know what it meant, it had to be an acronym for something, right?
So after a short internet search I find a listing for Habana House Cigars. I gave my wife some cash and a credit card and said take me to this cool cigar shop and you and your daughter go shopping for a few hours. Have some :”mommy daughter” time (her daughter is 21) while I enjoy some Boston Jimmie time. So we took the MOPAC south to Congress avenue and headed north on Congress. The address of Habana House Cigars put us in an area that is just south of a cool hipster neighborhood. If I was not looking at the address we may have missed the shop as it is up a hill and to the right in a small strip mall.
My family dropped me off and I made sure the shop was open on Sunday at noon. Luckily it was, and sent the girls on their merry way to enjoy the day as I enter the shop.
Habana House Cigars is a well laid out shop with what is by far the largest humidor in Austin, Texas. I greeted the manager and introduced myself. With camera in hand I head to the humidor to take some photos and select the first of 2 cigars for my visit. Scanning the humidor I noted that they have an incredible choice and lo and behold they even carry Warped cigars. Heck my local B&M in Melbourne, FL doesn’t carry Warped. I grab the Flor del Valle, the Stogie Press #2 cigar of the 2014 and head to the back of the lounge.
There are a few local BOTL’s relaxing and watching soccer on the big screen as I settle down in one of the many comfortable black leather chairs. There are ample ash trays so you dont have to get up and ash your smoke.
Striking up a conversation we discuss the normal topics. What are you smoking? Where you from? Who’s winning the game? Then I pop the burning question. What does MOPAC stand for. They look at me and smile and say, Missouri-Pacific Railroad. Gee that makes sense, why would I think it would have anything to do with Texas. The MOPACwas one of the first railroads in the United States west of the Mississippi River and the Loop 1 or as many Texans call it MOPAC Blvd runs along the MOPAC route through Austin. The railway runs along the side of the road and it all makes sense now, thanks to a cigar shop visit.
As we continued the discussion additional patrons came into the shop and the room was getting fuller. The smoke systems were working beautifully as there was never any lingering smoke in the sitting area. After a few bottles of water I had to use the restroom. There is only one, consider it unisex . It too, was immaculate. Kudos to Habana House Cigars. Besides cigars Habana House Cigars has a full line of accessories, and if you are a pipe smoker, they have an awesome selection of pipes and blended pipe tobacco also.
It was now time for the second cigar of my visit and I head back to the humidor and to grab some more photos and eventually select a Viaja Reserva. As I was paying for this selection I took the time to ask some more questions about the shop. I learned that there are not many cigar shops in Austin and this is by far the largest, at least until later in the year when they open another Habana House Cigars in north Austin. They expect to have an even larger humidor in that shop. I also learned that the owner of this fine establishment has a huge warehouse that stores a wide selection of cigars and you can order your sticks from them online. I guess that is one way to beat the argument of online vs. brick and mortar.
After 3 hours and 2 fine cigars, I bid farewell to my new friends of the leaf at Habana House Cigars and wished them great success with the new additional shop.
If you are in the Austin area you can find Habana House Cigars at:
3601 South Congress Avenue Suite K300-B
Austin, Texas 78704