Now that life is getting back to some level of normalcy, I took the opportunity to keep a promise and visit a new cigar lounge down in Vero Beach, FL. You see, back in late 2019, I stopped into the Riverside Cigar Bar (A Catelli Cigar Company Lounge) in Vero Beach and was preparing to take some photos. Owners, Michael and Kathy Catalano introduced themselves and explained that as much as they would appreciate the press, they were closing the lounge and would be opening a brand new lounge, just 10 min away by the Vero Beach Regional Airport. Michael explained that it was going to be bigger and better including an attached music parlor.
Of course, the year 2020 come and so did the first worldwide pandemic in a hundred years. I was not able nor willing to travel anywhere, so my visit to the new Catelli Cigar Lounge & Backbeat Music Parlor was postponed. Finally as vaccines became available, I got my shots and was ready to get out and help re-open America. Top of the agenda? Get down to Vero Beach and check out Michael and Kathy’s new place.
The drive from the Stogie Press office to the lounge is a short 45 minute scenic drive along US1 on the edge of the Indian River. The windows were down, the music was playing, and I was puffing on a cigar, on the drive down. I was zoned in and in a great mood. Life was getting back to normal.
A right turn onto Aviation Boulevard and a mile down the road and there it was, on the left, across from the airport, just as Michael told me it would be. The Catelli Cigar Lounge & Backbeat Music Parlor.
The Catelli Cigar Lounge
I entered the establishment through the cigar lounge entrance and was warmly greeted by Gale, the daytime bartender. I learned later that she not only is the bartender, but was there through the renovation, helping wherever she could to get the establishment up and running. I asked if Michael and Kathy were coming up and she promptly called them to announce I was there and then drew me a cool pint of Guinness and got me a Catelli Lancero to relax and enjoy my stay. The bar is beautifully constructed with ample seating. Blown glass pendant light fixtures hang above the bar, providing a warm glow over the bar. A Guinness sign hangs in the back, which made my first beverage choice easy.
There are also six taps of beer from around the world and locally breweries including Ft. Meyers Brewing Co. and Walking Tree Brewery which is located just up the road. They also have a good of bottle beer including Red Stripe, Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams and more. If you are in the mood for a coffee, they have a cappuccino machine also. If you taste is for wine, there is a wide selection of fine wines to please your palate.
As I settled in and waited for Michael and Kathy to arrive, I took the opportunity to take some photos of the lounge. The first thing you notice is that there is no walk-in humidor. Due to the layout of the building, there just was no room for one with all the glass windows around the shop. Michael got creative, and chose to build individually humidified cabinets with glass tops to display the selections. Above the cabinets are 3-inch thick glass windows to see between the lounge and the music parlor, so you can watch the music acts and still enjoy your cigar (there is no smoking in the music parlor).
The front of the lounge has a comfortable seating area, with leather club chairs and even an old barber chair. Sorry, no barber on site but if you wanted to experience sitting in a barber chair smoking a stogie, then have at it. The seating is arranged for easy conversation and there are plenty of ashtrays to catch your ash. There is also a large flat screen TV in the front corner of the lounge.
Walking back towards the bar, there is an octagonal wooden card table with four seats. This serves multiple purposes -such as a place to eat food you order in, play cards with friends, or just to sit, relax, and enjoy the moment. The night I was there, I sat with Kathy and Michael and conversed for hours, as Michael walked me through all the trials and tribulations of opening the establishment.
You would think it would be easy, but it never is, especially when you are opening a cigar lounge and music venue, even though the two are separated by a wall, 3 inch glass windows, and a hallway not to mention its own entrance and exit. Oh yea, their passion for this project persevered, even through a pandemic. You two are wicked awesome!!!
The lounge also has a proper selection of cigar accessories, including lighters, cutters, ashtrays, boveda packs, lighter fluid, etc.
Two last notes:
- Air Quality – with the high ceilings and specially designed exhaust the lounge was not smoky. Michael told me I have to come back when there is larger crowd to truly appreciate the air conditioning.
- Bathrooms – a visit to the bathroom was enough for me to know that this is a well maintained establishment. The bathroom was clean and tidy.
Now that you’ve enjoyed the cigar lounge, let’s walk into the Music Parlor, officially known as the Backbeat Music Parlor at Catelli Cigar Lounge. First leave your cigar, and open the door to the hallway that connects to the parlor. Notice there are 4 bathrooms off to the left, two men’s and two women’s. one of each is a handicap room. Now open the next door and enter the Backbeat Music Parlor at Catelli Cigar Lounge.
The Backbeat Music Parlor at Catelli Cigar Lounge
Officially it is the Backbeat Music Parlor at Catelli Cigar Lounge. It is all one building, with an interior hallway that connects them and a wall separating the two with 3-inch thick glass windows to see between the lounge and the music parlor. As soon as you enter the music parlor you will notice this has been made to be acoustically sound. Looking ahead there is the band stage with a an acoustic curtain backdrop and colored lights shining up. Michaels personal drum set rests atop the stage (yes, Michael is an accomplished drummer who has played drums since he was 8 years old).
The stage floor has an eclectic grouping of chairs, modern wingback, French bourgeois, and when you turn around there is a modern pleated leather high back benches. I had visions of being in high school dances where the girls would be sitting on the benches waiting to be asked to dance. OK, I am old, but hey it’s me.
On the other end of the parlor is a large copper top bar that serves the same beverages that the lounge carries. The lighting is different but just as architecturally artistic. Behind the bar, are two wine coolers and a tall “glass” cabinet. This bar is beautiful. There is ample seating at this bar also.
It is too bad there was no band the night I was there, I was hoping to see how this room looks and sounds with a crowd. I did get pointed to a video by Kathy, of the Ven Daysel Band, featuring Michael Catalano on drums.
The Party Moves Outdoors
Many times the music acts will play outside in the parking lot under tents. Drinking is allowed in the lot and bar service is provided. Michael tell me that the outdoor venue has been a big hit with his patrons and has drawn a mix of adult age groups. The music has to stop at 10PM when it is outside. Here are two videos I found on YouTube that shows the outdoor entertainment.
Location, Hours, and Contact
The Catelli Cigar Lounge and Backbeat Music Parlor is located at 3001 Aviation Blvd, Vero Beach, FL 32960
The establishment is open 6 days a week; Monday to Saturday
- Monday:12:00 PM – 10:00 PM
- Tuesday:9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
- Wednesday:12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
- Thursday:12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
- Friday:12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
- Saturday:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
It should be noted that if the house rocking, these hours may be extended.
I want to thank Kathy and Michael for being great hosts the evening I visited. I absolutely love this establishment and plan to return on a regular basis, especially when there is a music act there. This a must visit for any cigar enthusiast when you are in the area. Even if you don’t indulge in cigars come for the music, party, and friendship. The layout and uniqueness of the Catelli Cigar Lounge and Backbeat Music Parlor earns an big applause from me.