March 7, 2017
The last in our series of new or relocated businesses in Downtown Petoskey features a unique departure from the new and modern.
Envision yourself walking a bricked alleyway on a warm humid evening sometime in the 1950’s looking for that dark, cool space to enjoy a night cap or a quiet conversation. When you get to the cinderblock façade with just a touch of aged whitewash covering old cracks surrounding a staircase up to a mahogany door ensconced with an awning, blue trim, and white shutters, Havana, Cuba waifs up off the warm lake breeze. You enter, and lo and behold, Hemingway himself may be seated in a cushioned rattan chair puffing a cigar and sipping his rum daiquiri.
You have entered the world of Ernesto’s Cigar Lounge and Bar. Rustic burnt orange walls, recovered mid-century wallpaper, and hand crafted mahogany cabinets (including the walk-in humidor) hold steady around leather sofas, lounge chairs, and a homemade bar complete with every alchemy need for the next greatest cocktail.
“It took over a year to complete,” says Bill Tribble, partner in the business. “We visited Cuba years ago, specifically the El Floridita, and wanted something very authentic, thus the name Ernesto’s honoring Ernest Hemingway and his connection to Northern Michigan.”
Even without the famous Cuban cigars, authenticity has been achieved. Beyond the spirits and wines, they have cigars from Honduras and Nicaragua filling the humidor.
“Some people come in for a drink, but most come to enjoy a fine cigar and relax,” notes Bill.
There is no food yet, but the current business/liquor license allows them to have a working kitchen and serve food in the future.
Bill goes on to say, “We think it’s a great place to watch March Madness, but we really think it would be the place to come and watch The Master’s.”
And who can argue? A fine cigar, a snifter of fine scotch and favorite friends in leather sofas watching the match on a big screen may be better than one’s own living room where cigar smoking may not be on the menu of the household.
Current hours are Sunday through Thursday, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, Noon to 10 p.m. or closing if busy. Summer hours will change, so plot the website and Facebook page on your favorite list.
To make sure you can find Ernesto’s, make your way to 321 Reid’s Alley located between Mitchell and Lake Streets. Parking is available all around the blocks bordering the alley. When you enter, take a moment to soak in the experience, then belly up to the bar and order a snifter of your favorite single-malt. Be careful, though, it might become a routine.