SS February 2016

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30 SMOKESHOP February 2016 A s new hospitality, gaming, and shopping venues continue to come online amid a seemingly never-ending boom in Las Vegas, older ones reinvent themselves to stay compet- itive. Amid all of this activity, the cigar scene—which is as hot as ever there— continues to draw its own investment boom, with new destination businesses putting cigar bars and lounges front-and- center in major projects andnot just as nooks or afterthoughts in new retail cigar shops. It's part of a nationwide trend. The latest high-end project underway is the Montecristo Cigar Bar, slated to open in March by partners Michael Frey and Altadis U.S.A., the latest piece of a major retail and restaurant overhaul be- ing rolled out at Caesars Palace. The cigar lounge will pair premium cigars with fine whiskies, bourbons, cock- tails, small plate food offerings and more, all in a 4,000 sq. ft. environment designed by award-winning architecture and de- sign firm Rockwell Group in a style de- scribed as "contemporary" and "organ- ic." The celebrity architectural firm has completed dozens of high-profile projects in Las Vegas, including the new 181-room Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace. "The sheer size, elegance and commit- ment to customer satisfaction will make Montecristo Cigar Bar unique in the Las Vegas landscape," said Frey. "It will be a true sanctuary for cigar lovers to enjoy a great cigar and libation." Frey's company, Malecon Tobac- co LLC, is well established in the local cigar scene as partner and creator of Casa Fuente, which is located nearby at the Forum Shops at Caesars, as well as Colosseum Cigars and Empire Ci- gars Kiosks at Caesars Palace and New York-New York, respectively, each op- erating under his Freyboy Tobacco unit. Malecon is also relaunching Cigarbox, a cigar lounge and wine bar near Cae- sars Palace, while Frey's other partner- ship, Drive This! Entertainment, owns Rhumbar, a rum and cigar lounge at The Mirage, and operates other venues throughout the city. Gary Selesner, regional president of Caesars Palace, explained that the tim- ing is just right for the cigar bar, given that the hotel and casino are undergoing a "beverage and nightlife renaissance," having unveiled a refurbished iteration of its Lobby Bar and Sports Book bars, as well as added the cutting-edge Vista Cocktail Lounge and the massive, inter- active Omnia Nightclub. "Montecristo Cigar Bar is a continu- ation of this renaissance," said Selesner, "and will offer our guests the finest in cigars, whiskey and other fine beverag- es, while in a contemporary and inviting space featuring a walk-in humidor and Las Vegas Montecristo Cigar Bar Long-time cigar retailer Michael Frey partners with Altadis U.S.A. to create the latest cigar bar experience in Las Vegas, part of an ongoing transformation of Caesars Palace. STAFF REPORT RETAIL SPOTLIGHT >

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