Maduro Lounge Private Opening
-by Derek Blaylock
Full disclosure: I am not employed by, paid by, related to, or have any other direct connection to Maduro Cigar Bar & Lounge. Michael (the owner) did give me two free cigars a couple weeks ago when he gave me a sneak peak of Maduro, but it was before he ever had any idea I might write a review about his establishment. One of the cigars he gave me was a Cain F Lancero, which by the way is an excellent cigar and Bradley wrote a review about it here. I am super excited Maduro has opened and I will be a regular in frequenting this fine establishment.
Location, Location, Location
Maduro Cigar Bar & Lounge is located at 109 Main St. in downtown Little Rock. I live in west Little Rock and during rush hour traffic it only took me about 15 minutes to get from my house, park, and walk in the front door. Since they are downtown there might be a concern for parking but there’s a 4 story parking garage right next door, so unless Justin Bieber or Willie Nelson comes back to town for a concert there shouldn’t be a concern for parking. I believe their hours are: weekdays 10am – 12:00am and they also stay open a little later on the weekend.
view from the back of the primary room towards the front door – bar and second area is through the large opening on the left
When you first walk in you notice the wide open feeling because of the high ceiling with exposed duct-work which is obviously the trendy thing (in a good way) to do in construction in downtown industrial areas. There is cuban music playing through their stereo system that seems to put you in a trance and convince you that you need to light up a cigar. Of course, I obliged. The layout, seating options, humidor location, and bar arrangement all work together very nice to make a comfortable flow from your seat to go pick out another cigar in the walk-in humidor located at the back of the primary room. There is an abundance of comfy leather chairs and couches arranged in clusters and most of the chairs, including the couches, recline and there is always an ash-tray within an arm’s reach. The bar is located to the right (from the perspective of when you first enter) of the primary room. In the bar area there are stools you can sit out and there are also several booths and high tables (with tall chairs) to choose between. But even if you are not sitting in the same room as the bar you won’t have to worry about your drink getting low because there are plenty of wait-staff who check to make sure you have everything you need. I’ll talk more about the wait-staff further down the page.
There is also a party room in the works but I don’t know the specific details about that so if you have any questions about that it’d be best to talk to Michael – the owner.
At a cigar bar it’d be smart to carry cigars
The great thing about Maduro Cigar Bar & Lounge is the variety of the cigars they have on hand. The picture above is only a small glimpse of what they have. The walk-in humidor has three walls full of cigars and even the glass front has special cigars displayed as well. And if that’s not enough there are two other separate wall humidors located near the walk-in humidor. They also carry flavored cigars; flavored cigars are not my preference but they do a good job of catering to all cigar smokers. We are one united body under the leaf right?…sorry, that was a bit sappy. 😉 I digress…
If I had to pinpoint one negative it might be that when you get several people in the walk-in humidor it can be a bit cozy and crowded. I guess that’s all the more reason to get there early and stay late and you should have plenty of opportunities to go in when it’s not crowded.
Among the cigar brands they carry are: Alec Bradley, Padilla, Romeo y Julieta, Don Pepin, EP Carillo, 5 Vegas, My Father, Cain, Nub, La Flor Dominicana, Oliva, Padron, La Gloria Cubana, Toraño and many more.
The prices on all the cigars are very competitive considering we are in Arkansas where the tobacco tax is 68%.
They also have a very nice cherry wood chest with individual locers available where you can keep cigars. There are monthly rates which you open you up to great savings and discounts. Again just ask Michael for more details on the lockers.
Currently the food selection is primarily limited to light snacks, but I have heard that there are plans in the works to do something more. In my opinion it’d be smart to implement what they are thinking about doing because you wouldn’t want to light up some of the fine cigars they carry on an empty stomach.
Hey bartender, Jobu needs a refill. (if you don’t get that, please watch “Major League”)
The drink selection at Maduro is excellent. They have mixed drinks, cocktails, quality liquor, beer and soft drinks. Personally I normally just enjoy a beer, B&B, or brandy with my cigar, but after seeing the drink menu (which is several pages) I can’t wait to try some of the other cocktails they have listed. From my personal experience that night, I ordered a B&B which they didn’t have on hand (although they will carry B&B, they just didn’t have it in yet – remember, it was their first day open). So, the waitress told me they didn’t have B&B, yet, but that the bartender had offered another drink choice that was similar. I forget exactly what the drink was that she recommended but it was an excellent substitution.
If you’re a newbie to cigars and don’t know what type of cigar you might like you should not be intimidated to come in. Steven and Michael are on hand to give you great suggestions. They are both extremely knowledgable about cigars, and the waitstaff seemed to be very knowledgable and helpful about
Overall opinion –
Maduro has absolutely everything you could need or want in a cigar bar. It welcomes newbies and aficionados and even non-cigar smokers. It has drinks that will satisfy everyone’s preferences and comfy leather chairs that will accommodate everyone’s bums. I tried to be as honest as possible on this review, but I will acknowledge that my excitement about their opening has clouded my bias a bit. This is a place that obviously I will be frequenting quite often so if you see a balding guy wearing glasses come over, sit down, say hi and ask me what I’m smoking.