Favorite

Smoking on Main in Maduro 

Asked if the "cigar bar" name is a stigma to overcome, Michael Peace, owner and general manager of Maduro Cigar Bar & Lounge, doesn't hesitate to say yes. "I've heard several times from people I meet and tell about Maduro, 'Best of luck. I don't know if I'll be there.' " Nonetheless, he contends that Maduro is for everyone.

For non-cigar smokers, the argument goes like this: The location, at 109 Main St., just west of the River Market, is prime. The atmosphere is, as Peace bills it, "classy, but relaxed." (The name "Maduro" is supposed to convey that sense. Maduro is a type of cigar wrapper that's been aged longer than others. "Loosely it translates into mature and ripe and aged," Peace said. "That's kind of the look and feel we're going for here — sophisticated but still to where you can come in and let loose and have a good time.") Puffy brown leather chairs (the executive's La-Z-Boy), couches and bar chairs are everywhere. The walls are painted red, which if you put any stock in color theory, makes things livelier.

Peace ranks his cocktail menu and selection as the best or second best (behind the Capital Bar & Grill down the street) in town, and he has a strong case. He's got it all, but Maduro does brown liquor especially well, with around 30 varieties of rum, Scotch, dark tequila and whisky. You'd be hard-pressed to find a bar with better well drinks (they're typically the cheapest brands the bar carries) — Famous Grouse Scotch, Finlandia Vodka, Flor de Cana Rum, Four Roses Bourbon, Lunazul Tequila, New Amsterdam Gin — which he offers for $4 during daily happy hour from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. The cocktail menu, nearly all of which was created by Peace, also impresses. We feared the Encantos, a drink Peace recommended made of rye whiskey, a sweet vanilla and citrus-y liqueur, sweet vermouth and a dash of cherry bitters, would taste cloyingly sweet, but it was subtle in the best way.

And the smoke? "I guess it depends on the day or time you come in," Peace said. "If you come in on a time like a Monday night or Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon, you're not going to get so much of the smoke. If you come in on a Friday or Saturday night, you're going to smell some cigars and you're probably going to leave smelling like cigars." To cut down on the smoke, Peace has an air cleaner in each room that sucks smoke up and ionizes it and five air purifiers situated throughout the bar. After a recent Thursday happy hour visit, and a short walk back to the office, co-workers couldn't guess where a reporter had been. His wife, on the other hand, knew right away.

Cigar smokers likely need less convincing. Peace said that he needs to attract plenty of non-cigar smokers to grow the business, but so far, much to his surprise, he's making 45 percent to 50 percent of his monthly revenue in cigar sales. Some customers come merely to visit the walk-in humidor, which glows against one wall like the front window of a jewelry store. But most stay for a cocktail, Peace said. He and the cigar lounge clerks are always ready to suggest a pairing. Cigars go with drinks just like wine and food, Peace said.

"Let's say, for instance, you want something that's rich and smooth. You might want to go with a San Lotano Maduro cigar and pair it with a Zaya Rum that has some vanilla notes to it," Peace said. "We have cigars that are mild to medium to full-bodied. Some cigars are going to have spicy notes to them — black or white pepper spice or other kinds of spices. Some are going to have coffee notes or cocoa notes. Some are very earthy, or hay-like. There are cigars all across the board."

For serious cigar aficionados, Peace offers cigar lockers for rent inside the humidor. For a $100 a month, those renting lockers get five cigars selected by Peace and discounts on cigar accessories and drinks.

Peace, 32, said he spent 10 years planning Maduro. He opened the bar in February with money socked away from years of IT consulting for utility companies, a "niche area where the demand is a lot higher than the supply." Even with the bar, he's still consulting, usually working, he said, "from as soon as I can wake up until 3 or 4," when he comes to the bar, where he stays until midnight.

"It's stressful," he said. "But I love having a unique kind of bar. It's something I think Little Rock has needed for a long time, a fun place for people to come to, whether or not they smoke cigars or not."

Favorite

Speaking of Michael Peace, Maduro Cigar Bar & Lounge

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

  • The Debtors' Prison Edition

    This week, Max and Lindsey talk about a Sherwood District Court that operates as an illegal debtors’ prison, according to a new ACLU federal lawsuit; Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner’s views on residency requirements, the Little Rock School District and a wide range of other topics; and then they do a quick run through some other topics including the imminent closure of the Broadway Bridge and the selection of Leslie Rutledge’s daddy to head up the Election Commission.
    • Aug 26, 2016
  • A plan for Arkansas to get more out of the money it spends on corrections

    Arkansas's prison population is among the fastest growing in the country. The state now spends more than half of a billion dollars on corrections, a 68 percent increase since 2004, and our prison population, which increased by 21 percent between 2012 and 2016, is expected to rise by another 19 percent between 2016 and 2023 to 21,345. Those were the facts and projections Justice Center, a project of the national nonprofit Council of State Governments, reminded people of yesterday before presenting criminal justice reform proposals.
    • Aug 26, 2016
  • Arkansas criminal justice reform proposal due today

    We'll get a good sense of what criminal justice reform legislation might look like in the 2017 General Assembly later today — as well as some potential stumbling blocks to its passage. Justice Center, an offshoot of the national nonprofit Council of State Governments, will offer policy recommendations to the Legislative Criminal Justice Oversight Task Force this afternoon at the Arkansas Association of Counties conference.
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • More »

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

  • A child left unprotected

    State Rep. Justin Harris and his wife adopted a young girl through the state Department of Human Services. How did she, six months later, end up in the care of a man who sexually abused her?
    • Mar 5, 2015
  • Casting out demons: why Justin Harris got rid of kids he applied pressure to adopt

    Rep. Justin Harris blames DHS for the fallout related to his adoption of three young girls, but sources familiar with the situation contradict his story and paint a troubling picture of the adoption process and the girls' time in the Harris household.
    • Mar 12, 2015
  • Arts centered where?

    Desire for a new building could uproot Little Rock's longtime cultural gem and send it across the river.
    • Feb 26, 2015

Most Shared

  • The South, including Arkansas, is failing poor kids who want to go to college

    The Atlantic has an important perspective on the South's "cycle of failing higher education."  Arkansas stands out for the cost barriers it presents to low-income students.
  • School takeovers erode democracy, target minority communities

    New reporting shows state takeover of schools around the country, including in Little Rock, have disproportionately affected minority communities.
  • The boys on the tracks are back

    A lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Little Rock bears notice for its effort to breathe life into the 29-year-old story most familiarly known as the Boys on the Tracks.
  • Arkansas legislator tied to fatal bus crash in Louisiana

    Republican state Rep. David Wallace of Leachville, a current candidate for state Senate, has been identified as the owner of a company that rounded up a group of workers, apparently undocumented aliens, for flood relief work in Louisiana, including one with a poor driving record who was at the wheel in a fatal bus crash on Interstate 10.
  • Dumas: Behind the Obamascare headlines

    Ernest Dumas explains in his Arkansas times column this week how Obamacare's problems can be fixed; why it isn't going away, and, most pertinently, why it's more lucrative for Arkansas to continue to expand the coverage pool, not dream up ways to shrink it.

Latest in Cover Stories

  • Arkansas trauma system takes a hit

    Doctors worry about impact of canceled contract with educational arm, loss of funds.
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • The return of Kaleidoscope

    The LGBT Film Festival kicks off in North Little Rock.
    • Aug 17, 2016
  • Seven to watch

    At the Kaleidoscope LGBT Film Festival.
    • Aug 17, 2016
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

August

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation