1. a more or less cylindrical roll of tobacco cured for smoking, of any of various lengths, thicknesses, degrees of straightness, etc., usually wrapped in a tobacco leaf.
2. informal. not being a winning or successful effort, as if not good enough to earn a cigar as a prize: He made a good try at fielding the ball, but no cigar.
For centuries, men have smoked cigars. When Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, he may not have discovered India, but he did encounter tobacco – an artifact he and his men promptly brought back to Spain. Soon, men smoking cigars and pipes were a familiar sight in Europe, and tobacco plantations exploded in America to satisfy the demand.
By the 19th century, cigar smoking was common whether rolled in a cigar or smoked in a pipe. Cuban cigar manufacturers were at the top of the industry. By the 1800s, Cuba was widely considered the premier manufacturer of the world’s finest cigars. By the end of the century, many of Cuba’s top cigar producers migrated to Florida and formed Ybor City in Tampa, the cigar capital of the world with an influx of more than 60 cigar factories.
In the wake of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis at the height of the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy authorized a trade embargo with Cuba. Because products of Cuban origin were no longer legally available in the U.S., the effects of the embargo were devastating to the Cuban cigar industry. Curiously, another effect of the embargo was to create a lasting affair with this “forbidden fruit.”
After years of slow sales and a general lack of interest, cigar sales exploded in the 90s largely thanks to stylish representation in movies and media. While still associated with special occasions like the birth of a child, cigars were also portrayed as a sophisticated habit among a younger clientele – and not just men. Between 2000 and 2004, cigar sales in the U.S. grew by 28 percent. Flavored cigars jumped onto the scene, engaging a new market.
Far from the sidewalk cafes and hotels of Miami’s Little Havana, Omahan Jeff Doll delivers a serious tobacco experience at Safari Cigars and Lounge near 132nd and Maple streets. Doll’s clients range from the seasoned cigar expert to the novice. They come to Safari’s for the experience, education and escape offered at this upscale location.
Doll’s love for cigars began more than 30 years ago when a friend introduced him to cigars at a wild game cookout. Cigars were a ritual at this once-a-year tradition; the tradition lasted for years until the death of his mentor.
Over the years, Doll nurtured his fascination with cigars, expanding his knowledge and visiting cigar lounges on his travels. In 2013, he opened his lounge to share his passion by offering a unique and pleasurable cigar smoking experience in Omaha.
“I wanted to provide a place where both men and women can relax and enjoy each other’s companionship,” Doll said. His lounge delivers, with a timeless atmosphere and comfortable seating. A stunning humidor showcases more than 600 variations of cigars.
Safari’s offers a place for a night out with the boys or a quiet solo escape. Patrons can grab a stogie, dip it in some cognac, and sit back and relax.
Safari Cigars and Lounge
13110 Birch Drive
Hours: Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.