I do a lot of traveling for my business and sometimes I get the opportunity to checkout a new cigar shop or lounge when time permits. This past month I was on a trip to Detroit and had to be at a meeting Early Monday morning. I decided to fly up on a Sunday and my regular shop in Dearborn MI is closed Sundays. Well I had the whole afternoon to kill but it was freezing cold outside. I was thankful for a call from my friend Ryan Galamore from Swinger Cigars. Ryan said he was at this very cool shop outside of Toldeo OH. Toledo!! How far is that from “The D” I asked him. “Only about an hour” he stated. So with nothing much else to do, I drove down I-75 to the little town of Waterville, OH to visit the third Street Cigar Lounge.
Ryan was right about it being only an hour he was also right about his being one of the most impressive lounges in the country. Open only a few months the Third Street Cigar Lounge is a converted old time Grocery store, but you would not know that if it was not for the huge painting n the wall and the owner or staff giving you the grand tour. It is located on Third Street of course in downtown Waterville OH. As you walk into the lounge it is like walking into someones living room with couches and comfy chairs resting on a hard wood floor. The stair case to the second floor is right in front of you and the counter to the left of the stairs just next to the classic cigar store Indian.
I was greeted by the owner, John Henry who gave me the grand tour of this beautiful shop. After pointing out the huge painting I mentioned earlier, John takes me to the side and shows me a photograph wall of the best blues players known to music. He said that each photo was taken at a local Toledo establishment and that was his criteria for the photos if they were to hang on the wall.
Walking towards the back of the shop, is the large walk in humidor that is lined with Spanish cedar with a front fascia that reminds of an on old colonial house window and door – very classy and impressive. The humidor is loaded with cigars that would please any palate.
He then walks me to the kitchen area, but this is no simple fridge and microwave style kitchenette but rather a full kitchen where you can cook food for events or parties. The Third Street Cigar Lounge offers many a night where they lay out a spread for their patrons which can range from chili to prime rib sandwiches. They don’t serve alcohol but you can bring your own if you so desire. Of course sharing is caring.
Before we left the kitchen he shows me a door, that is labeled for members only. Opening that door, which is steel reinforced, you walk down a small set of stairs that takes you into the Members only lounge. Here, there is a huge room with leather chairs, TVs, and lockers for the members. Now unlike most shops, this members lounge has 24/7 access. Members use a pass key from an external side entrance to the room – very cool to say the least. I understand that the cigar reps get pass keys too, so they can stop in anytime to relax when on the road. Further buried in the basement is a huge aging room for inventory overstock, which is properly chilled and humidified.
As we left the members only lounge, John takes me up the stairs to the second floor. Prior to getting there, he points out the guitar, framed photo, and an urn on the landing of the stairs. This is museum quality history. The photo is that of the greatest blues artist hailing from Toledo – Big Jack Reynolds. The guitar was his and the urn contains Big Jack’s ashes. I asked how he cam across this. John explained that many blues players didn’t have family so John went to the funeral and asked if he could have the artifacts to care for. As you see, he got his wish.
As we enter the second floor, John shows me a few more small rooms off the top of the stair case. One room is used as a card/poker room, and the other is a conference room with a table and chairs surrounding it. Both rooms have additional music history artifacts from Toledo. They are decorated with original concert venue posters from the early days of rock and roll.
After we left the anti-rooms, we walk into the main room on the second floor. This room is the “Rock” room. there are numerous signed guitars from some of Rocks greatest artist. The walls on both sides of the room are plastered with photos of the many rock stars that played in Toledo. Again, the photo had to be of the artist playing at a Toledo venue. The room itself has comfortable leather chairs and large flat screen TV. This room also doubles as a concert room when the Third Street Cigar Lounge hosts musical acts on the weekends. John mentioned that many times they get acts and musicians that are traveling either to or from Toledo to play a show. The musicians stop in to practice a little before the show. Nothing like having a sneak preview of a band right?
There were a few more interesting things about the shop. They sell home blended pipe tobacco, as well as some very cool tables that are for sale, and would make a great addition to anyone’s man cave. They are metal and wood top tables with the center pole made from a huge engine crankshaft.
You can find the Third Street Cigar at 20 N. Third Street Waterville, OH. You can contact them at 419-441-0020 and of course if you want to be social you can interact with them on Facebook, Instagram (#third_street_cigar) and their Website. They also have a blog site where you can interact with them and other patrons and followers.
I want to thank Tom Clark, John Henry and Dave Webb for their hospitality and if I were to rate cigar shops, the Third Street Cigar Lounge would be in the top ten. I hope to get back there on a future visit.
– Boston Jimmie