Back during Thanksgiving vacation, I spent the week with my family in Kissimmee, Florida and three days of crowds and lines at Disney World. After getting my fill of the “mouse” I bailed on the trip to Universal Studies and opted to take up an invite from Eddie Tarazona, owner of Tarazona Cigars, to trip on down to Lakeland FL to check out the Cigar Life Shop and Lounge.
It was a beautiful Friday morning as I started the hour plus drive to Lakeland and I arrived at Cigar Life late in the morning. The lounge is located at the end of a strip mall right off Florida Avenue South. Parking was easy and plentiful right in front of the shop.
As I entered Cigar Life, I was immediately attracted to the cleanliness and expanse of the lounge. There is a small seating area as you walk in the door and a much larger area off to the back. Between these two, there is a bar and a huge walk-in humidor.
Mario Medina, the proprietor, greeted me with a warm and welcoming smile and proceeded to give me the grand tour of his establishment that he owns with his lovely wife Patti. Mario told me they are coming up on their 3rd anniversary this coming January and ever since they opened, Cigar Life has done nothing but grow. Mario notes that he grew up in a Cuban family and cigars were deeply rooted in the culture.
There websites notes:
“After visiting cigar shops and lounges around the country, we wanted to capture all of the elements we enjoyed in order to offer our guests the ultimate smoking experience. We’ve learned that it’s not just about purchasing a cigar, it’s about providing the right environment in which to enjoy it; an environment where newcomers are welcomed and everyone is family.”
I found the environment to be warm and inclusive. The seating was comfortable with adequate ashtrays and TVs for watching the news or a sports game. The ventilation and smoke eaters provided for a clean atmosphere throughout the lounge. There is also a board room in the back that is open to all, but can be reserved by members for a special event. The board room has a large table and chairs, flat screen TV, and its own private bathroom. If you enjoy playing cards while savoring your favorite cigar, the lounge also has a card table for use by their patrons.
The whole lounge was built from the bottom up, including the custom humidor that is beautifully encased in glass. Mario was kind enough to share a photo of his lounge during the build out. Fun fact: the first ciagr ever smoked in the lounge was a Cordoba y Morales as Mario and Azarias sat on paint buckets during the build out.
The selection of cigars in the humidor is extensive, with mostly big box names and some very select boutique lines. The humidor is well lit including the numerous cigar cases throughout. Having been in the grocery business, prior to opening Cigar Life, Mario understood retail and marketing and it shows in all that he does in his lounge. From the layout of the humidor, that is neatly organized with name placards and pricing, to the numerous events they host each month, Mario knows how to operate a high end Cigar lounge. They are proud to have what Mario says – is the largest Humidor in the area – and as you can see he is certainly not exaggerating.
Speaking of events, Cigar Life does them like no other. A week before the event, they set up a table of the sponsored brand, in the from of the store, and lay out the whole line for customers to see, buy, and try. This gives customers the opportunity to sample cigars from the line prior to the main event. The specials on the brand are offered from the time the table is set up through the event day. Believe it or not, Mario explained that this approach actually brings the consumers in, not only through the week, but for the main event too. Cigar Life does not just give away swag and great deals on cigars for an event, they also raffle off large grand prizes, like flat screen TVs. Yea, that is huge, and if you make a purchase prior to the event, you are entered in the raffle and you don’t need to be present to win, but most come in just the same.
The bar area has seating for a about a half dozen patrons or so and is adequately stocked with a fine selection of bottled craft and popular beers along with fine wines and of course soft drinks and coffee. I had no problem paring a cigar with the selections offered.
Cigar Life carries a extensive selection of accessories for cigar enthusiasts including cutters, lighters, humidors, ashtrays, and humidification devices all properly displayed in a well lit cases.
Friends of Cordoba y Morales
As I noted earlier, Mario is good friends with Azarias “Z” Mustafa from Cordoba y Morales Cigars and they even have a custom made rolling table where “Z” comes in and does rolling events on a regular basis. I have known “Z” and his partner Emily for a number of years, and the day I was there, it just happened to be a Cordoba y Morales Cigars rolling event. I not only got to hang out with Eddie Tarazona most of the day, but I also got to spend some time with “Z” which made it all that more special.
Membership has its privileges and Cigar Life offers an outstanding membership program. A yearly membership for $349 gets you the following benefits:
- Personalized private cigar locker
- Invitations to members-only events
- Advanced notice of special promotions
- Priority access to select and limited edition cigars
- 10% discount on all cigar purchases
- 15% discount on box purchases
Location, Contact, and Hours of Operation
Cigar Life is located at 5724 Florida Ave S, Lakeland, FL 33813 in the Centerpoint Plaza in South Lakeland.
The lounge has convenient hours of operation:
- Mon – Thur: 11 AM to 9 PM
- Fri & Sat: 10 AM to 10 PM
- Sun: 12 PM to 6 PM
You can contact Cigar Life by phone and connect with them on Social Media.
If you are in the Lakeland, Fl area anytime soon, I highly recommend you visit Cigar Life Shop and Lounge. Bring you appetite for engaging conversation, premium cigars, and tasty beverages. I am sure you will find this establishment to be as warm and welcoming as I did. The lounge will be holding their 3rd anniversary party on Jan. 18th. from 12 PM to 5 PM and based on what I experienced and heard from Mario and his patrons, it is sure to be a blast.