Soho Cigar Bar in New York City Celebrates 25 Years In Business

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From what i understand, enjoying a cigar in a cigar lounge in New York is not what it used to be. I'm sure our members can provide more information in regards to regulatory changes this century. In the meantime, enjoy the following article in regard to Soho Cigar Bar celebrating 25 years in business...

Soho Cigar Bar Celebrates 25 Years In Business

Mar 26, 2024 By Thomas Pappalardo


Lee Ringelheim, owner of Soho Cigar Bar, cutting a celebratory cake for 25 years in business.

New York is a fairly tough city in terms of its smoking laws and can be difficult to navigate when searching for a cigar-friendly space, but there are still some safe havens if one knows where to look. Located in downtown Manhattan, Soho Cigar Bar, (originally known as Circa Tabac), celebrated a quarter century in business on March 5 with an evening bash.

"We are thrilled to reach this incredible milestone and celebrate 25 years of Soho Cigar Bar," says Lee Ringelheim, owner of Soho Cigar Bar. "Our commitment to delivering an exceptional experience for our patrons remains unwavering. As we look back on our journey, we are grateful for the support of our loyal customers and the vibrant community that has embraced us."


A waitress in a bedazzled Ziegfeld costume, passing out cigars on the big night.

Inside, the space feels both upscale yet comfortable with a décor reminiscent of a bygone era with art-deco fixtures, dark wood accents and portraits of the Rat Pack on the walls. The feeling of going back in time was further reinforced on the night of the party by young women dressed in bedazzled Ziegfeld costumes making their way through the crowded bar carrying trays of cigars or drinks. One Ziegfeld girl sat in a giant coupe glass in the center of the room doing kicks in the air to the music playing over the speakers.

It was a packed event, with a mixed crowd of young and old, men and women, and any other demographic you can think of smoking side by side, united in their appreciation of fine cigars and a good venue by which to enjoy them.


Tie Domi (center), who was one of the toughest men to play in the NHL, smoking at a corner table during the festivities.

The establishment has its patronage of both locals and celebrities such as former New York Rangers player Tie Domi, who was in attendance to show his appreciation at the party. “Soho Cigar Bar is where I can relax and make calls and do FaceTimes, have a Davidoff and watch sports with Frank Sinatra music on in the background,” he said in a statement. “Is there anything better?” 

In addition to the open bar, attendees were also given a choice of either Glennfiddich 12, 15 and 18 whiskies to pair with the house-brand cigars that were being passed out. At one table in the back, a pair of cigar rollers from Martinez Cigars were on hand to demonstrate their craft and hand out cigars to guests.


Karen Gao (left) and Holland Smith, Soho Cigar Bar regulars, enjoying smokes at the anniversary party.

Towards the end of the evening, Ringleheim cut a cake made to look like a humidor with decorative confectionery details resembling cigars and cutters.

"Celebrating 25 years signifies longevity, adaptability, and loyalty, both from our cherished customers and dedicated staff,” says Ringleheim. “It's been a wild ride, but the future looks bright. As Frank Sinatra famously sings, 'If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,’ and indeed we have."


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   This used to be my regular spot for a drink and cigar when I lived in NYC. The owner Lee is nice enough, the place could use some better ventilation when the windows are closed. They also made a significant price increase before the pandemic. A lot of Europeans would come in a rip cigarettes like they were going out of style, not against the rules but I am biased towards the smell of cigars over cigarettes.

   All that aside NYC has so few cigar lounges that all of the complaints can be over looked. The staff was always nice and respectful, food decent, good selection of liquor, decent cigar selection and cutting fee was waved with the purchase of a drink. Would definitely recommend if you’re in NYC.

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Its a good spot, a bit of investment in ventilation would be appreciated overall though. Lots of characters. I visited first in Feb 2014 shortly after moving into the city and there was Emily Ratajkowski puffing cigarettes like no tomorrow with a few friends mid day, I think she had just been anointed famous after the Blurred Lines video (before the debacle it ensued for Robin Thicke after). I still visit once a while, a few times per year, and similar vibe still. Offensive Line of the Jets would host few parties there, usually closed doors and the patrons composition is interesting, from that to tourists to some shady dudes as well. All friendly. Good to catch a game in a week night for sure and better in the warm months during the day when they open the windows fully. 

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