This past weekend I visited Jacksonville, Florida and had some time to venture out and visit what this iconic American city has to offer for cigar lounges. Over the course of a days and nights I had to pleasure of visiting 3 different lounge that I would to highlight for you if you are ever visiting “Bold City” Jacksonville, Florida. But before we do that a little history about this city.
Jacksonville was founded in 1822 when a platted town was established there in 1822, a year after the United States gained Florida from Spain. The city is named after Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida Territory and seventh President of the United States. The land was actually inhabited as far back as 2500 BC based on remnants of pottery discovered. The region was inhabited by the Mocama, a coastal subgroup of the Timucua people. At the time of contact with Europeans, all Mocama villages in present-day Jacksonville were part of the powerful chiefdom known as the Saturiwa.
Starting in 1562, the area was under rule of various european nations including the French (1562–1565), the Spanish (1565–1763), the British (1763–1783), the Spanish again (1783–1821) and then finally the United States (1821–1861),
At the time of the American Civil War, the city was under control of the Confederate States of America from 1861–1862 and then back to the Untied States in 1862.
On May 3, 1901, downtown Jacksonville was ravaged by a fire that started as a kitchen fire. Spanish moss at a nearby mattress factory was quickly engulfed in flames and enabled the fire to spread rapidly. In merely eight hours, it swept through 146 city blocks, destroyed over 2,000 buildings, left about 10,000 homeless and killed seven residents.
The City recovered and by the 1910’s it was a major site for motion film production which also grew the city as a large banking center. The US Military followed during World War II building 2 Navy bases that added to the economy. Today the city has grown into a major metropolitan area with a large urban and suburban population.
The city and it surrounding areas have numerous cigar lounges – three of which I visited:
Downtown Cigar Lounge
This small lounge is located in the city center at 11 Ocean St,, just a short walk from the city’s river park (River Walk) that includes numerous restaurants and lively night life. The Downtown Cigar Lounge has what many call a “nice vibe” and brings people from all over the world when they are attending business conferences. It is very much a locals lounge but I found everyone to be friendly and welcoming. The lounge has a small humidor that carries the most popular cigars but there is no issue if you bring you own so long as you are buying something at the bar.
They have only a beer and wine licence so don’t expect to get a dram of Oban while there but they do have a decent selection of beer and wine to indulge in. If you are in the mood for a cocktail they have wine based spirits that get the job done.
The seating is comfortable with ample room at the bar and plenty of cozy seats and tables along the wall. The bartenders Dee and Key told me that they have live jazz some weekend nights.
The lounge is also a premier sponsor of the annual Bold City Cigar Festival held in October. The lounge is open every day except Sundays with the following hours of operation:
- Monday 3PM–12AM
- Tuesday 3PM–12AM
- Wednesday 3PM–12AM
- Thursday 3PM–12AM
- Friday 3PM–2AM
- Saturday 3PM–2AM
- Sunday Closed
Tobacco Galore/ Wine Down Cigar Lounge
If you drive a short 3 miles out of city center you will come upon a regenerated area of town along Edgewood Ave which is just off of US 17. This lounge has grown from a small cigar shop 5 years ago a beautiful and expansive lounge in the past 2 years. The lounge has 10 large screen TVs placed throughout so you should have no problem finding something you want to watch. There is ample and comfortable seating to chill out and strike up a conversation or to just relax in cigar solitude. They have a free wi-fi for all your surfing needs. If you are a pipe smoker they have a nice selection of pipes also.Owned by the same gentleman over the years Tobacco Galore/ Wine Down Cigar Lounge has a fairly large and well stocked humidor that Andrew (the owner) told me has about 450 facings. The prices are the most reasonable in the area.
The bar is small but there are numerous high top tables in the bar area. As far as beverage selections, this is also just a beer and wine bar including a fairly expansive list of fine wines to excite your palate.
If you are an art collector, they have some interesting art works form a local artist for sale decorating the back wall.
The lounge is open seven days and is the one lounge that is open early in the morning.
- Monday 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
- Tuesday 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
- Wednesday 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
- Thursday 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
- Friday 10:00 AM – 12:00 AM
- Saturday 10:00 AM – 12:00 AM
- Sunday 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM
You can contact Tobacco Galore/ Wine Down Cigar Lounge at (904) 423-0345 or on their website tobacco-galore-cigar-lounge.business.site They are located at 1070 Edgewood Ave S #1 Jacksonville, FL 32205.
Island Girl Cigar Lounge
If you drive south out-of-town along I-295 till you get to Gate Pkwy you will come upon Island Girl Cigar Lounge. It is located in a strip mall directly across the street from the IKEA store. This is one of three independently owned Island Girl shops in the greater Jacksonville area. The lounge boasts the largest humidor in the area and I can attest that you can certainly find something that pleases your palate. they have a full liquor bar with an extensive selection of fine spirits and a decent selection of wine including Port Wines.
I was there early in the day so I can not comment much on the clientele but from what I saw it was upscale. This is certainly the place to go in the area if you are in the mood for some spirits and a cigar.
The lounge is large with a main area that includes the bar and plenty of seating areas along with an auxiliary sections that doubles for a private party area and separate bar. The prices are a bit higher in this lounge than the other I have spoken about, but you pay for the ambiance. They have live music regularly
They are open seven days a week with the following operating hours.
- Monday -Thursday 1:00 PM – 1:00 AM
- Friday 1:00PM – 2:00 AM
- Saturday 12:00 PM – 2:00 AM
- Sunday 12:00 PM – 1:00 AM
So there you go, these are my picks for the best lounges to visit if you in the Bold City. If you have any comments or want to add to this list please comment to this article.