The "VIP Guest Today" lawn signs in front of the Wooden Indian Tobacco Shop and Cigar Lounge were too interesting to just pass by on Thursday afternoon.
For a non-smoker the fragrant cigar store next to the Manoa Fire Co. station (yes, they do have a wooden cigar store Indian statue) is easy to miss. So the intrique of a mystery guest was enough to draw in a first time, non-smoker Patch Edtor.
Inside the store, which has a special exemption that allows smoking on the premises, are thousands of cigars and most times a handful or more of cigar lovers.
In the front of the shop at 95 Eagle Road is a showroom featuring hundreds of cigars. The special guest on Thursday was a representative of Oliva Cigars. The star of the shop is owner and certified tobacconist Dave Mayer.
Adjacent to the main showroom is a giant, walk-in humidorm, which Mayer says keeps more than 1,000 cigars at a constant 70 degrees and 70 percent humidity level. Mayer describes conditions inside the walk-in humidor like a "nice day in Florida." Think of the giant humidor like a cigar aviciando's answer to a walk-in wine cellar.
For the true cigar lover, there is also the Liga Pravada Cigar Lounge. It's a giant lounge equipped with comfy sofas and chairs, TV, sound system, and original art work. It's also a place where cigar lovers can meet to smoke and enjoy each other's company 24/7. During the store's regular business hours the lounge is open to any and all customers. After hours, there is a private entrance where club members can come at any hour to smoke a cigar and enjoy the company of other smokers.
Mayer says that much like wine lovers, cigar lovers enjoy the social aspects of sharing a common interest.
The Cigar Lounge is also where Mayer made what many, especially non-smokers, might consider a surprising confession.
Click on the Patch Video clip to see what Mayer told us about his own smoking preferences.