Las Vegas is a tale of two cities. You have the colorful, extravagant, Dionysus-inspired strip, which most tourists visit. There also lie pockets of other noteworthy areas and activities, which attract attention to those travelers who dig deeper. Summerlin is arguably the classiest outlier of Vegas, and nestled therein, Tivoli Village. Inside Tivoli Village, you will find La Casa De La Habana Cigars & Lounge.

Two friends, and authentic cigar enthusiasts, have been educating me on cigars over the last several months. One of these friends, Phil Maloof, is now introducing his own line of cigars. The other is Roy Boulos, who runs a friendly, premium, well-stocked liquor store in Summerlin. He also sells fine cigars and maintains a walk-in humidor. Most weekend evenings you will find a small crowd gathered outside his storefront, smoking and conversing at sunset.

One afternoon, Roy drove Phil and me to his friend’s cigar lounge, a place he called “stylish and impeccable.” La Casa. Since that day I’ve been back six times.

For my day job, Las Vegas Top Picks, I peruse the city for the finest restaurants, shows, activities, bars, lounges, dayclubs, nightclubs, businesses, and poker rooms. The finest doesn’t always mean the most expensive — in fact some places in Chinatown serve fantastic food for a peasant’s wage. I look for places that are extremely good at what they do, so good that visitors and locals rave about them every week.

It could be an entertaining walk down Fremont Street that won’t cost you a penny, or driving a Ferrari around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway at Dream Racing that will cost you $300. Or a cabana at Marquee Dayclub, or bottle service at XS Nightclub. For the business I founded, Las Vegas Top Picks, our motto is “We live here and showcase the stuff we love.”

Old World Meets New
I loved La Casa De La Habana Cigars & Lounge from the first footfall inside. Or possibly before. To reach La Casa you stroll down cobblestone walkways, brick archways, and the Italian architecture of Tivoli Village. Outside you feel as if you’re in Florence. After entering La Casa, you feel as if the outside surroundings could be any international metropolis, and you’ve now reached an upscale sanctuary.

You’re insulated by both old world and new world charm. There is classic Cuban art, including oil paintings of cigar plantations, music, and women. The comfortable leather furniture, situated near the long marble bar, is elegant and inviting. You’ll find large windows that offer the warmth of sunlight or the coolness of starlight, mixed with overhead luxurious lighting; plus all the usual accoutrements sought by cigar lovers. The walk-in humidor is kept at 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 70% relative humidity, softly lit, smells intoxicating, and offers a wide selection of cigars.

And that’s just the beginning. They have patios in front and back, to catch festivities nearby, evening sunsets, overhead stars, and give those who may not smoke — but are friends of those who do — a little fresh air. Both patios are inviting and comfortable, with tones of dark brown and muted white. There is also a separate, nearly hidden, rear inner lounge for members only, equipped with personal humidors. La Casa is open to both walk-ins as well as longtime patrons. At 2,566 square feet on the inside alone, with another 1,100 square feet outside, there is plenty of room to find your own personal space.

This oasis has also branded itself a “cigar-inspired music lounge.” You get a variety of first-rate music every week. Cuban Latin jazz on Wednesday evenings, special guests on Thursdays, straight jazz on Fridays, and a Sinatra cover band for Saturdays.

People show up, smoke, and enjoy music and drinks. People discuss life and take their sweet time, enjoying cigars and each other’s company, leaving their worries at the door. Shouldn’t every evening be like this? We can dream.

Owner Ismail Houmani
I’ve had the pleasure to speak with the owner of La Casa, Ismail Houmani, several times. You can call him Ismail. To me, he represents what every cigar lounge owner should be. He’s well-traveled, a consummate host, calm, poised and listens more than he talks; but when he talks, people listen. And yes, he’s had plenty of cigar experience. He’s traveled to Africa, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and many other tobacco-growing regions in order to deepen his cigar knowledge. He visits plantations and talks with growers. He’s been doing all this for nearly two decades.

As a young boy in Lebanon, Ismail’s summers were spent running wild in his cousin’s tobacco fields. He was enchanted with the feel of dirt and tobacco leaves underfoot. One of his earliest memories is of his father bringing home a box of original Cuban Cohiba cigars; Ismail lifted the lid and delighted in the distinctive aromas.

Ismail currently has La Casa De La Habana lounges in three cities across Michigan: Plymouth, Ann Arbor and Detroit, and now the recently opened location in Las Vegas. He also has a new cigar line that’s presently being rolled out in Detroit and Vegas, called “20 Minutes in Las Vegas.”

While Ismail enjoys taking his slow sweet time with cigars, he also listens closely to customer needs and flows with modern ideas. After hearing “I only have twenty minutes” on countless occasions, Ismail developed a cigar for this experience too.

Great Staff and Great Experience
The staff at La Casa is great. The manager, Jaxx, is a lovely and welcoming woman who knows an extraordinary amount about cigars. Even more, Jaxx is skilled at pairing cigars with a wide range of spirits and cocktails, for example, the popular ZING Vodka Red Velvet Chocolate Martini.

Whether you have 20 minutes or four hours, whether you are a greenhorn or a connoisseur, whether you are a member or a non-member, and whether you are a Vegas visitor or a local, La Casa welcomes you and treats you well. They definitely rank as a top cigar lounge, and Ismail hopes you will stop by soon, for a classy evening and relaxing cigar. While there, you may feel like the most interesting man — or woman — in the world.

La Casa De La Habana Cigars & Lounge
430 S Rampart Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89145
http://www.lacasadelahabana.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.