The cigar scene in Melbourne, Florida has taken a new step on the lifestyle ladder with the introduction of a monthly Sip & Smoke event being held at 28 North Gastropub in the Avenues, Viera Florida. Sip & Smoke is currently a collaboration between Justin Chaffiot, owner of The Chaffiot Collection and 28 North Gastropub – a local pub. The inaugural event was held September 12th and future events are scheduled on the first Thursday of the month, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM.
I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural event early this month and it was bigger than I thought. Local cigar enthusiasts came out for a wonderful evening of cigar enjoyment, rum tastings, and fellowship. Being pretty deep into the local cigar culture I thought I knew most of the members of our cigar community, but I got to meet some new faces – which is always pleasure. I even met a BOTL I did not know, from my own neighborhood, Pepi Vidal, who is always welcome at the Stogie Press Lounge.
Future events will feature a different spirit tasting with the October event featuring select bourbons and scotches. Of course there will be hand rolled cigars from the Chaffiot Collection for your enjoyment.
The Chaffiot Collection
Justin Chaffiot the owner of the Chaffiot Collection, explains on his company’s website:
“Chaffiot Collection was created out of the idea that we can use something we enjoy to combat something we hate. We exist to deliver premium handmade cigars to aficionados while providing awareness and advocacy to combat human trafficking. Historically, cigars have been associated with celebrations. At Chaffiot Collection, we choose to celebrate the restoration of lives once abducted, abused, and neglected by trafficking. We invite you to help save lives by enjoying fine cigars.”
Because life is worth celebrating…
I got to meet Justin at the event and we had a nice conversation about his company and mission which was enough for me to purchase a sampler of his craft to help the cause. You can expect to see reviews of these soon.
Justin goes on to state:
“By the time you have finished smoking a robusto, approximately 68 people were sold or kidnapped and forced into trafficking somewhere in the world. Chaffiot Collection exists to raise awareness and advocate to help end this modern day form of slavery. 10% of all proceeds are donated to fund the mission.“
– There are roughly 27 million people enslaved in the world today.
– There are an estimated 1.5 million people being trafficked in the United States today.
– In the U.S., at least 100,000 children are exposed to trafficking every year.
– Florida is ranked 3rd in the nation for human trafficking calls.
28 North Gastropub
28 North Gastropub is a local pub located in Viera, Florida a growing new community just north of Melbourne, FL. The tag line is” Local Latitude & Local Attitude” and the number 28 represents the Brevard County, Florida’s latitude “28 North” .
Located in a shopping district known as The Avenues, it was the brain child of a Brevard County Native, Chris Conneen . In his own words:
“ You’re probably asking yourself “what in the world is a gastropub”. We could bore you with the dictionary definition or we could give you our take on the term we debated even using. The first part of the word “Gastro” comes from a term that all of us unknowingly already understand.
Do you enjoy eating or preparing delicious food? Then you’re a fan of Gastronomy. The second part of the word is pretty obvious so we won’t waste time telling you what a pub is.“
Chris goes on to explain his mission:
“The one thing that was never in question was finding a way to ensure a continued focus on enriching local organizations and entrepreneurs. That idea quickly meshed with an extremely talented local chef looking for an opportunity to serve his particular brand of elevated, locally sourced comfort food, and his wife, a creative and motivated mixologist with a passion for unique hand crafted cocktails. One part visionary restauranteur, two parts hungry creative foodies… 28 North was off and running”
I have to say, besides the rum tasting and cigars, I also indulged in some craft cocktails that were definitely aligned with what Chris noted about unique and hand crafted. Since I already had dinner with my wife prior to the event, I did not order any food that night, but from what I saw, it looked good and this next event I plan on partaking in the food also.
Now that you know about the Chaffiot Collection and 28 North Gastropub, let’s talk a bit about the event itself. I arrived on time and the crowd was just starting to grow. I quickly noticed my fellow Brother of the Leaf, Terry Mayben who runs a Facebook group called Sticks and Spirits Cigar Club. We found a seat on one of the outdoor couches on the patio where the event is held. The patio is a comfortable place to relax and enjoy drinks and cigars with ample seating and tables. I applaud 28 North Gastropub for hosting the event, something we need more of here in Melbourne, FL.
Once settled in, we ordered some drinks and I headed over to meet Justin and learn about his cigars and mission. He had small table set up where you can purchase cigars if you wish. Of course being an outdoor venue, I brought my loyal friend Ziggy with me , who is always a big hit.
Off to the side, by the entrance to the pub was another small table where you could have unlimited rum tastings that night. Including some fine selections of Zacapa and Havana Club.
The event got rolling by around 7PM as the patio filled out with Brothers and Sisters of the leaf enjoying cigars and libations.
All in all, everyone seemed to have had a great time and we are looking forward to the October event. If you are a member of the cigar community here in Brevard County, Florida, I hope to see you there.
28 North Gastropub Location and Hours
28 North Gastropub is located at 2250 Town Center Ave, Viera, Florida 32940.
Hours of Operation
- Monday – Thursday: 4-9:30pm
- Friday: 4pm-11pm
- Saturday: Noon-11pm
- Sunday: 10am-9pm
They can be contacted at: