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Stogie Commentary: Ybor City

19 Jun 2006

In-flight airline magazines usually aren’t the most fascinating publications. This is one of the reasons why, after all, periodical stands make such killings at airports. But if you’re planning a trip on Southwest Airlines in the near future, you may want to reconsider forking over $27 for that new Dean Koontz novel.

The May 2006 issue of Southwest’s Spirit magazine sports a wonderful article by Jack Boulware about the Cigar Capital of America: Ybor City in Tampa, Florida.

There is one place left where smoking makes sense, where it’s part of a cultural heritage, a testament to craftsmanship, style, and family. A place where a good cigar is a tradition.

If you’re not familiar with this Mecca of tobacco, Ybor is a historic Latin quarter of Tampa that was once the stogie pinnacle of Earth. Over 20,000 workers produced about 700 million handmade cigars each year in this neighborhood, all from Cuban leaves.

Today, many cigar companies and distributors have their headquarters in Ybor, stogies cost about one half of what they do elsewhere in the country, and – perhaps best of all – smoking is tolerated everywhere. Writes Boulware:

I live in California, where you have about five minutes to enjoy tobacco before an angry mob beats you to death with pamphlets.

The article basically chronicles Boulware’s heavenly visit to Ybor, chatting with local cigar legends, touring famous cigar stores, and – of course – smoking stogie after delicious stogie.

So if you’re hopping on a Southwest flight anytime soon, take a few moments to enjoy this fine piece of literary magic. And if your business or personal travels take you to Tampa, rest assured the city is more than just a retirement community filled with chiropractors, churches, and Bingo halls…It’s also home to Ybor.

-Patrick A


3 Responses to “Stogie Commentary: Ybor City”

  1. Terrence Ryan Monday, June 19, 2006 at 5:41 pm #

    I just got back from Ybor, and let me tell you – it does rock. Price’s weren’t as great as stated, however everything else was fantastic.

  2. CigarSmokingMan Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 8:53 am #

    Ybor City is a great place to smoke a cigar. Unfortunately, you cannot smoke everywhere anymore, there are some great places left to smoke. King Corona Cigars is a great place to relax with a coffee or other adult beverage and a cigar. You can sit on the front patio and watch the world go by. Adobe Gilas is another great place in Centro Ybor where you can smoke without a hassle.

    There are tons of cigar shops, many with in-house rollers. It's facinating to watch them roll tobacco into cigars.

    Prices may be a little higher nowadays, after all it is a tourist attraction, but I'm sure they are better than most areas of the country.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. The Stogie Guys » Blog Archive » Stogie News: Historic Cigar Factory Finds New Life - Monday, December 18, 2006

    […] Originally built in 1903, the Berriman-Morgan Cigar factory may seem to be a relic of a bygone era. But the Ybor City factory that once produced millions of Havanas a year is coming back to life after decades of abandonment and disrepair. […]