The sign says Davidoff of Geneva, but this world class cigar lounge is located right in the center of the Tampa Bay area. A stone’s throw from the airport, International Plaza and Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Davidoff is a bay breeze of a drive from anywhere in the metro area. This is not by accident.
Owner and gentleman Jeff Borysiewicz explains, “Tampa is a very difficult city in which to find a location for a shop like this. The area has 2 downtowns and a lot of coastline that really doesn’t give it a good center for a store of this magnitude.” He and the space were waiting for each other. The space sat dormant for years before Jeff decided he would put this landmark in its current location. The opening of the store was a seminal moment for both this plaza and its surroundings as well as the standard of cigar excellence in Tampa Bay.
Sit, Stay, Enjoy!
The main floor of the shop provides one with such a pleasant experience. When you walk in the door you see the many isles of different brands varying in price from pre-embargo Cubans that demand $8000 a cigar, to more common, contemporary smokes that are found in most tobacco shops.
The lounge area, which is part of the same grandiose space as the retail portion of the store, is a haven of comfort with spacious seating and an awe-inspiring bar that proudly displays the aforementioned spirits. There is also a wall of lockers for the regulars, or for those who have their name on the waiting list for one in the future. Upstairs there is a VIP room which looks down on the main floor. This room can be rented for anything from fantasy football drafts, to a men’s diaper party. Yes, it is the testosterone infused male version of a baby shower! Not fair, my kids were born in the wrong era…
The Man Behind the Plan
Jeff is also the owner of three fantastic cigar lounges in Orlando. All three Corona Cigar Companies are also under Jeff’s umbrella. The three Corona stores in Orlando all possess the traditional Hispanic/Caribbean décor, which is really absent from the Orlando area. However, when Borysiewicz wanted to expand to Tampa, he realized the Latino/Ybor City atmosphere would be white noise in a city already abundant with red brick and wrought iron classic Hispanic design. So he chose to engage with the Davidoff franchise to give the state of Florida something they’ve never had: A truly world class facility with a decisive European flair.
The Florida Infused Davidoff
Unbeknownst to this writer, Davidoff stores around the world all possess a unique cigar of the Davidoff brand that can only be found at one location. This store is no exception. Available only at this location is the Davidoff Tampa Exclusive Cigar. The bolder cigar of the series is made with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Mexican San Andrés negro binder, and Nicaraguan as well as Jeff’s own Florida filler grown right outside of Orlando. A piece of the Sunshine State in every cigar!
The Elysian Fields of Whiskey
If there is another purveyor of whiskeys anywhere in the world that has a selection like this establishment, you would have to take me there and show me before I would believe it! Towards the end of my time with Jeff, I asked him, “Do you like breweries?” After a long stare and a mischievous smile he replied, “I like distilleries!” This can easily be seen in the variety of libations available. Beer is available in bottles only. Which is quite unusual in a city like Tampa with so much local craft beer available. Wine is also on the menu, but the featured beverages are definitely the spirits.
Hundreds of bourbons and single-malts are available for the enjoyment of the consumer, and these whiskeys range from some of the more common brands, as well as their single barrel selections, to extremely rare and exclusive choices which cater to those with the wherewithal and palate. One of the stars of the show is the Macallan ’62. A glass of this hypnotic fluid will set you back a little less than $3000. A drink for the well-financed whiskey aficionado! Nice work if you can get it! Part time bourbon enthusiasts need not apply!
However, there is a place at this palace of fermentation for every whiskey consumer that walks through its majestic doors. All the usual suspects, Knob Creek, Four Roses, Woodford Reserve and my personal favorite: Buffalo Trace are available upon request. But unlike other purveyors of the mellow elixir, Davidoff carries many single barrel gems of said brands. During my visit, Jeff and the whiskey-clairvoyant general manager of the store, Tommy Deaddio, gave me an education on bourbon selection that blew my mind as well as liberated my palate! When selecting which single-barrel bourbon will be carried at Davidoff, Tommy and Jeff insist on doing the tasting on their home turf. Three sample bottles, on this day from Buffalo Trace, that vary slightly from each other are sent to Tampa to be evaluated.
Tommy explains, “We always insist on doing our selection here. Many times the distillers want us to go to Kentucky, or wherever their operations are, and do the single-barrel selection there. When we are in the distillery, the smells of wood, oak, as well as other spirits being distilled fill the air. It can really throw off the palate. Here in our store, we can really isolate the flavors because our senses are not being stimulated by anything else.”
We tried three single-barrel products from Buffalo Trace the day I was there. The gentlemen insisted that I partake in the process, God love ‘em! The first two selections were a bit thinner and higher in alcohol. “This will be a problem when ice is introduced, “ explains Deaddio, “With a lower alcohol content and a thicker bourbon, the ice can melt and still the drink can stay consistent with its original form.” Bourbon class was fun! Looking forward to single-malt class!
Davidoff of Geneva Tampa is slowly becoming a must see for those who visit this great city. Paris can have the Eiffel Tower, I’ll take this place! When I asked Jeff who he would love to smoke a cigar with, alive or dead, he said, “Jesus or George Washington.” Davidoff is a locale definitely worthy of having those two titans of human existence as guests. Just make sure you don’t discuss religion or politics!
Davidoff of Geneva Tampa
4142 W Boy Scout Blvd., Tampa, FL 33607
Tel: +1 813-513-7560
Offers cigars: Yes
Offers alcoholic beverages: Yes
Offers food: No
Seating capacity: 200
Smoking indoors/outdoors: both