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I want to open a cigar lounge, where do I start?

I want to open a cigar lounge, where do I start?

I’m currently a senior in college and a few friends of mine what to start a cigar lounge. We’ve been talking about it since we started college. We realize the amount of work it will take to start a lounge that will actually make money. I’ve been to cigar bars in Texas, Illinois, and Florida and not one lounge has been consistent as far as popularity and customers. One cigar lounge in Illinois I go to has a beautiful lay-out, very spacious, a huge selection but that’s it. They don’t sell alcohol because of zoning and Illinois law, and that could be why the place is usually empty on a random 2 o’clock weekday, or the same six guys come in on the weekend. A cigar lounge in Florida is small, pretty decent selection, they sell alcohol, but it seems they’re taking a younger customer approach by selling hookah and cigars. So more of a mixed market, to younger hookah smokers and more mature cigar smokers. So now my questions?

My friends and I are fairly flexible when it comes to location. I’m currently in Nebraska where cigar lounges don’t seem to be a huge market here. The other locations we’ve talked about are Illinois, Texas, Cali, New York, Florida, and possibly Georgia. From the states I’ve listed (and any ones I didn’t list) where would a cigar lounge be most successful?

Our perfect lounge would be spacious, huge selection, full bar, with private rooms for meetings, large groups, or whoever wants to spend the money to use a room. What else could our cigar lounge have that would be appealing to you as the customer? We thought about supplying hookah for a younger crowd, but out of my group of friends I personally feel that would bring in a younger crowd which might push the high paying cigar smokers out of the door. I also don’t want the smoke to clash. I love hookah smoke, but if I’m smoking a cigar I want the smell of cigar smoke, not flavored shisha.
What do you think?

The last thing I’m thinking is adding a mini micro brewery to my lounge. We would have three beers available. Two house beers and one seasonal beer is what we’d sell. Customers can crates of our beer for consumption at home, or they can have them on draft at out bar/lounge. Now I’ve been home brewing for awhile, so I know that this would be very difficult to incorporate in out lounge. It would be very costly to set the micro brewery up, and I would need to hire someone to manage that area. I know this is costly, and probably a terrible idea, but I thought I’d see what everyone thought about the idea. If money was no object, would you like to enjoy a smoke and some beer on draft that has been brewed at the lounge? Or would you pass completely?

Thanks for all the help guys. I’ve been coming up with ideas for three years now with my buddies. We want to start a business that is successful and makes money. My dad has started four businesses on his own, he’s very successful in his work, but he’s never had a business that was ultra successful. So I know how hard it is, but I just want some extra help and ideas to really make my mind up on wether or not it makes sense at all? Thanks for the help guys!

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