Earlier this month I had the opportunity to visit Pensacola, Florida. The city is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle, just 13 miles from the border with Alabama. It is the home to Naval Air Station Pensacola (NASP) which was the first Naval Air Station commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1914. The city can boast being the first Spanish settlement within the borders of the continental United States in 1559, predating the establishment of St. Augustine by 6 years, but a hurricane wiped out the settlement and it was not re-established until 1698. Nick named the “City of Five Flags”, Pensacola was ruled by 5 different governments and therefore flew the flags of Spain (Castile), France, Great Britain, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America throughout its long history.
Walking around downtown Pensacola, I came across this cool mural that depicts the history of the city and the five flags it was governed by.
The Cordova Cigar Lounge
For a cigar lover, there are a number of places to visit in the city, and since I was there to interview retired NFL Super Bowl Champion, Fred Robbins, we met up at his home shop – Cordova Cigars. The shop is conveniently located within one mile of the Cordova Mall and Pensacola International Airport. The shop is nestled in a commercial area of the city, housed in a large brick building with signs clearly presenting it as a cigar shop. There is ample parking as you pull into the parking lot off La Vista Avenue which is connects to N 9th Ave, a main road through the city and an exit off I-10.
As you approach the shop, you will notice it is a Davidoff Appointed Merchant, which is proudly emblazoned on the window. Once you enter the lounge that becomes more obvious, as the first thing you see is the Davidoff showcase.
Initially, the lounge seems to be small but if you take a moment and let your eyes adjust and walk around, you will quickly realize this is over 3,000 square feet with numerous sitting areas and rooms to enjoy a cigar and the pleasure of fellow cigar enthusiasts. The store was custom built from the ground up to best enhance the cigar smoking experience. Voted “Best Cigar Shop of 2019” by the Pensacola News Journal Reader Choice Awards, this is one shop you must visit, if you are in the area. They even have a 1,000 sq-ft outdoor patio which can also be rented for private parties.
Main Seating Room
The front of the shop has a seating area with leather chairs and flat screen TV, the Davidoff showcase, a small beer and wine bar and a large walk-in humidor. There is a also a case of pipes and numerous accessory cases featuring such brands as S.T. Dupont, Xikar, and Room 101. A sign above the entrance to the next sitting area declares the shop as a Drew Diplomat Retailer also, so if you are a Drew Estate fan, you can be assured you will get the best the company has to offer.
The humidor is large and well apportioned, with over 800 facings taking up 380 sq-ft of space (that’s as large as the smoking lounge in my house). It is well stocked with a mix of big box and boutique selections and even hard to find blends. They always have the latest releases from the brands they carry and with those many brands they have numerous events each month with great promotions, raffles and swag.
The bar is not the center of the universe at Cordova Cigars. Remember this is a cigar lounge not a bar. If you want a bar scene, there is plenty of them downtown Pensacola. The bar at Cordova Cigars is a service to their patrons, should they wish to have a beverage with their premium cigar. With that said, they do carry some fine craft beers, wines, aged port wines, and boutique soft drinks.
The Television/Game Room
That next seating area is expansive with plenty of leather seats, a flat screen TV in the corner, private lockers, and wall full of framed Cigar Aficionado magazine covers. It is the television and game room according to the locals. If they are not watching sports, movies, or news on the TV, they use it to play video games. The lockers are for those that purchase a yearly membership to the lounge, and provides you with a cigar locker, discounts and also dibs on new releases. The room can also be rented for private parties.
The Espinosa Cigars Domino Lounge
Off to the left of the Television/Game room, is another seating room with a door that can be closed for privacy if you are having a meeting. It is small cozy space with black leather chairs, a coffee table, tiled floor with an area rug, and a dominoes table. This area is known as the Espinosa Cigars Domino Lounge and was inaugurated in 2013. It was a way to pay tribute to Erik Espinosa, owner of Espinosa Cigars, who has been a great friend to Cordova Cigars ever since the lounge opened, which just so happened to be around the same time the Espinosa 601 was released. It is told that whenever Erik would have an event at the shop, it quickly turned into a dominoes tournament. So the lounge decided to created a room for just that and adorn it with decor branded from Espinosa Premium Cigars including a 601 dominoes table. It should be noted, this was only the second Espinosa branded lounge in the country when the opened it.
The Foundation Cigars Room
If you walk down the corridor, just after the Espinosa Domino Lounge, you will come across a small seating area, that has some black leather chairs and marble tables. I will call this the Foundations Cigar Room because of the Foundations poster on the wall. This is more of an overflow or meeting area where a small group of friends can sit comfortably to relax and converse.
The Leccia Tobacco Room
The last room, along the inside corridor of the building, I am calling the Leccia Tobacco room, it really isn’t much of a smoking room, it is more of a break room, with a small table and couple of chairs. But it has signed Leccia Tobacco – Luchador sign on the wall. I love the fact that there are still shops supporting Sam Leccia.
Store Manager – Trip Zach Tripoli
Talking about the Cordova Cigar shop would not be complete without mentioning the Store Manager and Certified Tobacconist, Trip Zack Tripoli. This young man has been around Cordova Cigars since 2012 and along the way has worked as the Southeastern Sales Manager for Espinosa Cigars / Cornelius & Anthony Cigars and Southeast Regional Sales Manager for La Flor Dominicana. Trip has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cigars and tobacco and he will certainly fit your palate with a cigar that meets your profile and engage with you in deep cigar talk. Ask him about the story of when he was working for Erik Espinosa and he was testing a new blend. Trip is an avid bass fisherman when he is not busy at Cordova or running his local lawn service. Having grown up in Pensacola, he can direct you to many of the fun things to do in the city if you are visiting. Of course, what is more fun than sitting with a group of cigar enthusiasts and enjoying life, but then again, I always say, “If you are in a new city and want to know what to do, where to eat, get a haircut, or just find fun things…visit a cigar shop and ask.”
Location, Hours, and Contact
So there you have it – a 3,000 sq-ft cigar lounge that has the largest selection of cigars in Pensacola. It is a well ventilated and comfortable lounge with friendly and welcoming patrons, clean bathrooms, and plenty of places to relax. If you are ever in the Pensacola, FL area, this is a must stop if you are in the market for a fine cigar, friendly people, and craft beer selection.
Cordova Cigars is located at 6050 N 9th Ave, Pensacola, FL 32504. Store hours are as displayed on their door.
You can contact the shop by phone at (850) 473-0080 or visit their social media pages:
You can also visit their web site at cordovacigars.com for information on up coming events.
Speaking of Pensacola, if you do venture to the downtown area across the bridge, you will find a vibrant area of bars, restaurants, and boutique shops. I took a few hours around dinner time to visit. One of the coolest places that Trip turned me onto, was the Old Hickory Whiskey Bar. This place has over 650 whiskeys, other spirits, along with artfully crafted cocktails in a relaxing and engaging atmosphere. There is sidewalk patio that has waitress service and you can enjoy a cigar while sipping some awesome selections of whiskey.
Here is the exhaustive menu of whiskey, just click to enlarge and read this list!