A Little Executive History
It was more than a decade and a half when I first stepped into the Executive Cigar Shop in downtown Melbourne FL. It was a small shop in the center of the strip along New Haven Avenue in the heart of a slow growing downtown district of this small Florida town. Things were much different back then in Melbourne, the city was just beginning to experience a growth spurt with the expanding aerospace business nearby. The airport itself was just a regional airport, there were still a few dirt roads and I-95 was a much narrower and less congested highway. You could drive 7 miles in 12 minutes on Wickham Rd and US 1 was a smooth easy drive from downtown to the Pineda Causeway.
As the city grew so did the dreams of Tony Nardone, owner of Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge. New restaurants and shops started to open and the strip became more lively in the evening and so did the desire for premium cigars and a larger place to enjoy them. Tony moved the shop across the street into a building with a more substantial footprint where he could stock more choices and offer a additional seating areas in addition to a bar to sit and enjoy a beer or a glass of wine. The shop met some competition along the way but it did not last long as Executive was now more than a shop, it was a lounge where lovers of the leaf could sit, smoke, drink, and share stories and tales.
The second rendition became a staple place for locals and visitors alike. As time went on Tony knew he wanted to make an impact on the city and set his sites for what would be “the” cigar emporium in Brevard County, FL. He knew it had to be in downtown Melbourne and waited patiently till the right location freed up. That moment happened late in 2017 when a shop two doors down vacated and he decided to secure the site and began what turned into a 12 month journey of renovation, decoration, and moving to what is now a 4,000 square foot luxurious cigar lounge.
The transformation was not easy. He had to secure permits and licences to expand into the new location. What is amazing though is how many patrons, from every walk of life and occupational field, chipped in to help build out their new home away from home. Architects, artists, HVAC, specialists, decorators, and just pure raw labor, pitched in to take a vacant building and transfigure it into an eye catching store front that lights up the strip. He did such a great job that Davidoff recognized his accomplishment and decided to put a Davidoff Humidor in the lounge and give him a full Davidoff account. Recognition indeed!
The shop opened up a few weeks ago with some small events leading up to the official grand re-opening of the Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge in beautiful downtown Melbourne, FL this past Saturday. The event started at 11AM in the morning and lasted well into midnight. I have to say, I don’t think I have ever been in a cigar lounge for as long as I was on Saturday. Twelve hours of experiencing all that the lounge had to offer, talking with friends and new comers alike, participating in raffles, enjoying food and drink, and of course smoking cigars.
The Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge
The lounge is easily identified from the street, with its brightly lit sign and indoor lights shining out on the street. Before you enter you notice the two outdoor patios on either side of the dual entrance door. Each patio is decorated differently. The left one has a wall of green ivy while the one on the left has a large brick wall. Being a baseball fan I quipped that the left patio should be called the Wrigley room and the right patio should be the Camden room.
As you enter the shop, you can’t help but think you have entered a high end department store like Nordstrom’s. Your eyes quickly move to the numerous, brightly lit, glass display cases that show case everything from cutters and lighters, from the likes of Xikar, Colibri, and S.T. Dupont, to cigar cases, pipes, sunglasses, and watches. There are also tables displaying personal humidors also.
Prominently located to the left of the entrance is the Davidoff wall humidor that is stocked with the best the company has to offer and has an eye catching, brightly lit, Davidoff logo on top. There is no doubt that Executive now carries this prestigious cigar line.
On the opposite wall, on the right of the entrance, is a full wall length of glass front, humidified, show cases that have most any cigar that meets your need from the mainstream to the some of the most prized boutique blends. There is also a number of stand-up humidors on the floor as there was obviously not enough wall space for the whole inventory of cigar selections.
Now I know what you may ask, but Jimmie isn’t there a walk in humidor for such a large shop? Yes! As you walk past the showcases there is large custom built, walk-in humidor that is lined with Spanish cedar and properly temperature and humidity controlled. This is where Tony stores all the boxes of cigars he sells. It took at least a week to season it before any inventory went in.
By now you would have picked out a cigar or two to smoke and you want to settle down to enjoy a beverage and that takes us to the bar and multiple seating areas.
Just before the bar there is a small seating area with two large comfy chairs and leather couch along with a faux fireplace to add to the ambiance. Across the room there is a high top table with chairs right behind the side of the humidor. There are additional seating areas along the wall across from the bar, again with comfortable leather seats and couches and a booth in the back corner.
Besides the walk-in humidor the real eye popper is the huge wrap around bar that is fully stocked with the best choices of draft beer, fine wines, and ports. In case you can’t make up your mind the lounge offers flights of beer and port to help you make your choice. The beer selection was created by the patrons of the old lounge, as Tony asked on his Facebook feed to chime in on what should be in the taps. Of course there is also a full selection of bottle beer along with coffee and soft drinks. The lounge does not have a full liquor licence as of yet but we shall wait and see. I am OK with the many craft beers they have.
If you are a regular and want to get a locker for your private stash, the lounge has a membership program that includes a locker and deep discounts on all purchases at the shop.
Here is a live video I recorded on Facebook the day of the Grand Opening walking you through the lounge.
The Grand Opening
As I noted, this was the grand re-opening of the Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge and of course it was quite the party. It all started off at 11 AM with a Rocky Patel event followed by Espinosa Cigars in the afternoon and then Drew Estate in the evening. Even Melbourne, FL Mayor, Kathy Meehan, stopped in to congratulate Tony and his staff.
Each event offered special deals on boxes and samplers and purchase of any got you raffle tickets for some incredible prizes. There were also pop up door raffles throughout the day as Tony and his staff would hand out raffle tickets for the prizes. The grand prize that was raffled off late in the evening was a custom made knife by one of the shops patrons. Tony could not stop talking about this all day and once we saw it, we all understood why.
Once I finished my early photo taking I found my way to the bar and fired up a smoke and began to take it all in as people strolled through the door. By early afternoon the lounge was packed with BOTLs and SOTLs enjoying the event. One of the cool things about this lounge is there are no smoke eaters. Instead, Tony Nardone opted to spend a small fortune on a high end HVAC system that not only provided the air conditioning but also filters the air throughout the lounge. Even with the crowd that was here it was practically smokeless. A well made investment for sure.
As it got late into the afternoon it was time to indulge in eats. All stops were pulled out for this as Tony had a cooking crew slow roasting a huge pig since 8 AM. Around 5 PM it was time to take it out and begin the serving. Besides the pig there was baked beans, rice, chips and dip, and fried plátanos. A meal worth waiting for. The chef and his crew did an amazing job and the line to get the food told it all.
Checkout the following video as the team unveils the pig!
Patrons are Sure to Return
Everyone had a great time at this event and Tony and his staff did an outstanding job keeping the drinks flowing, cigars cut and lit, and joining in the many conversations with their patrons. Just browse through the slides below and you can see what a great time it was. Click on any picture to see a larger image if you so desire.
In closing, I would like to thank Tony and his wonderful staff including Erica, Yasmin, Brianna, Veronica, Lori, and Zach for putting on such an epic event and giving our “not so small town” a classy cigar lounge that will draw locals and visitors alike.
The staff at Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge are all being trained to become certified cigar sommeliers. They begin training at Executive with cigar 101 before going behind the bar.
As Store Manager, Erica Everett explained to me:
“They are taught to know Cigars first, bar second, even with the larger bar. The bar is for our customers to enjoy. While we of course get visitors who may not smoke cigars… Yas loves to do barside conversions lol. Yesterday a guy bought some cigars to bring home for friends back home.Told me he didn’t smoke. He had time before a flight so he sat to have a drink. The next thing I know Yasmin’s got him smoking a cigar We also added a bar back/sales associate Zach. Zach’s dad runs Humidor Smoke Shop in Kingstown RI so he’s grown up in this culture.”
Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge is located at 843 E New Haven Avenue Melbourne, Florida.
Phone: (321) 733-4554
Hours of Operation:
- Mon – Thurs: 11 AM to 10 PM
- Fri and Sat: 11 AM to 12 AM
- Sunday: 12 PM to 5 PM