Customers at Habana House Cigar Lounge in Northwest Austin can spend just as much time picking out a cigar as they do smoking one.
With one of the largest walk-in humidors in Central Texas, manager Jim Harrison said introducing customers to a variety of options is an important aspect of the store’s experience.
“When you walk in, I wanted it to feel like a journey,” Harrison said.
Habana House’s Northwest Austin location is an outpost of the original South Congress Avenue store and lounge, and it celebrated its third anniversary Nov. 3. Harrison, who got his start in the cigar world working for a cigar accessory company, said he offered to help open the Northwest Austin location with three goals in mind.
“There’s no secret to keeping your lounge popular and your shop successful in selling cigars, and that’s inventory, cleanliness and customer service,” he said.
Customers trying cigars for the first time or buying gifts for a loved one can feel just as comfortable shopping at Habana House as cigar aficionados searching for an exclusive brand, Harrison said.
“It’s easy enough just to walk [new customers]through, ask questions and make suggestions based on what’s popular right now,” Harrison said.
For customers searching for deals or interested in trying a new brand, Habana House hosts events, often attended by up to 100 people, during which cigar company representatives and owners offer samples and answer questions, he said.
When cigar smokers settle into the lounge area with ventilation, leather chairs, tables and televisions, Harrison said he sees a community forming.
“It’s as politically divided in the nation as it is in the cigar world, and the people that come are a really cool, eclectic mix here,” he said. “It’s all walks of life, and it’s from young and old now. It’s not just older gentlemen with deep pockets.”
Habana House Cigar Lounge
13729 Research Blvd., Ste. 1075, Austin
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.