Every year, for the past 11 years, cigar smokers from all over the US, descend upon south Florida to celebrate their lifestyle at an event known as the Great Smoke. The event is a way for Abe Dababneh, owner of the “Smoke Inn” enterprise, to give back to the cigar community.
The Smoke Inn is huge in the state of Florida, consisting of 10 retail establishments in the sate and one more in North Carolina not to mention the ginormous internet presence of their associated smokeinn.com website.
The Great Smoke, held each year in mid February, is traditionally the kick off, of the many cigar festivals throughout the country and is one the most affordable when you consider what you get for your hard-earned cigar dollar. This year, Abe expanded the event for a full weekend of fun, cigars, libations, and camaraderie.
It all started with a pre-event dinner at Ruth Chris Steakhouse on Friday that was complete with special, event-exclusive, commemorative cigars. The dinner was sponsored by Quesada Cigars and was priced at $135.00. If you were not able to get in on the dinner, Rocky Patel hosted a pre-event party at the Smoke Inn Casa de Montecristo in Boynton Beach, Fl. Sadly, I was not able to drive down Friday for the pre-event festivities, but I did talk to those that made it there and saw some of the photos. It looked to me that I missed a ridiculously good time.
My friend Anthony (a fellow Stogie Press associate) and I, did make it to the main event, which was held on Saturday, February 18th, at the German Club in Lake Worth, Fl. Admission prices were set at $225.00 for a V.I.P. ticket that got you entry at noon, an hour earlier then the base entry ticket which was priced at $150.00. The V.I.P. ticket also offered access to the Russian Standard Vodka V.I.P. Lounge, private beverage area, easy and express access, and a full wait staff. Either ticket provided you 45 premium cigars, delicious food stations, and unlimited wine, beer, and spirits.
The attendance was solid, and the line moved smoothly entering the cigar vendor tent. Even Baltimore Ravens legend Ray Lewis made the event with Nish Patel. There was a 20% chance of rain that day, but I think Abe must have made a call upstairs as only a few welcome clouds appeared overhead shading the mid-day sun.
As we entered the vendor tent, we snaked past each table picking up samples of their latest creations before heading out to the food and beverage area. The live band was laying down some melodic blues riffs as we sat and smoked away the hours meeting old friends and making new one.
Speaking of spirits, if you like to treat your palate to scotch, rye, or bourbon – you were not disappointed!
5 PM came around too quickly but there was more fun to be had at the Espinosa after party held at the Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen’s club. My friend Anthony and I decided to pass on that and we spent the evening visiting my friend Brian Berk’s place – the Mancave Cigar Lounge in Fort Lauderdale and then headed over to the Hard Rock Casino for some late night gambling which paid off quite nicely!
The next morning we drove over to the Recluse Cigars sponsored brunch at the Smoke Inn Casa de Montecristo for the closing event. For $30 bucks you got one heck of a spread, ranging from prime rib, to tropical mahi-mahi, to waffles and omelets. Let’s not forget bottomless mimosas and bloody mary’s and of course a Recluse Cigar to enjoy the early afternoon.
I have to say, Abe knows how to throw a party and I think everyone in attendance this past weekend will agree that the Great Smoke 2017 was a wicked awesome event. If you missed it, you may want to keep an eye out for the 12th annual Great Smoke in 2018. I know I will be there and hope to see you there too.
A picture tell a thousand words but a video tells a lot more, so here is a walk around the 2017 Great Smoke for your viewing pleasure.