Revival: Madison Cigar Lounge

SMALLER_VERSIONWhen one door closes another opens, or so it seems in the world of cigars. Earlier this year we reported that Renaissance Cigar Emporium had closed their doors for good after a brief two year run.

We pretty much chalked it up as a general downsizing of the desire for luxury products in Harlem. We have witnessed the closure of a cavier bar, a cigar lounge, a semi-private club, a high-end children’s shoe store,and a luxury car dealership.  So it was quite a surprise to be contacted this week about the pending grand opening of yet another cigar lounge in the same location as the old one. Madison Cigar Lounge (MCL)  is located at 1825 Madison Avenue near 118 and 119th Streets.

The Madison Cigar and Lounge management team consists of five partners; Thomas Attonito, Anthony Fontanello, James Ng (pronounced ing), Tony McFadden and Walter Palma. The one thing that brings these men together is their passion and love for a good cigar. Each of them has their very own nostalgic love-marks with smoking.  Anthony Fontanello began smoking with neighborhood pals and is a 20 year veteran.  Smoking reminds Walter Palma of when his family members bonded over a round of cigars.  Tony McFadden, used to look up to his grandfather who enjoyed original hand-rolled Cuban cigars regularly; this is why Tony enjoys smoking as an elite pleasure.  With their distinctive memories of smoking, this passion strengthens their vision and determination to run a successful tobacco establishment.

Thomas Attonito states, “This venue will be a place to come and smoke in peace, and will allow you to casually mix and mingle.” James Ng states “MCL will be a place where anonymous people can feel comfortable.” James enjoys the communal activity and the social atmosphere of cigars.

The majority of the cigars being retailed at MCL are Spanish tobacco blends from Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, and our very own Miami.  MCL’s tailored humidor houses over 100 different brands imported from various regions.  The most anticipated top sellers are the C.A.O. of Dominican Republic, Camacho of the Honduras, Don Pepin Garcia Line of Nicaragua, Nestor Miranda Cigars of Miami, USA, Spanish Galleon of Dominican Republic and Rocky Patel, which is a blend of Brazilian, Dominican and Honduran tobacco.  MCL is highly excited about their exclusive house blend known as “The Madison,” a custom designed hand rolled cigar that is mixed with premium tobacco.

Madison Cigar Lounge
1825 Madison Avenue
Phone # 212.828.1MCL


8 thoughts on “Revival: Madison Cigar Lounge

  1. My brother, I get your point. But cigar smoking would be at the end of my list of issues that can destroy our communities. I admit that cigar smoking is not for everyone, but for those of us who enjoy it we take pride in the fact that we have our own place to come to. I dont have to go down to Madison and 63rd St to Club Macanudo anymore because we have our own place to come to. I don’t need to entertain my out-of-town friends at Carnagie Cigar Lounge on West 58th St. I can bring them to where I live and be proud of it. The point you don’t get is that we enjoy what we do dispite the health issues. You can die from racing cars for a living but people still enjoy it. The one issue that I know we can “come to blows about” is the issue of self-esteem. I really don’t like to say this but I am a very successful business person who came from nothing. I have been on my own since I was 15 years. I was a drug addict who almost died on the street of Harlem when I was tossed out on the street after an overdose. I spent time in jail, but that did not stop me from seeing my dream. I was the only non-attorney at the EEOC and I have the highest settlement rate in the New York District office for six years. I raised three boys to become good men and fathers, my oldest is forty years old and my two younger sons are ministers in North Carolina. I have seven grandchildren, one is a star student/athlete at Huntington High School on Long Island. I just completed my first book, Harlem Son which is fastly becoming a best seller. So if I want to light up a good cigar and enjoy myself at a place that is owned by my close friend that is truly my right. Madison Cigar Lounge is not for everyone, however, for those of us who enjoy it we are very proud to say that we have a place of our own. If you want to discuss the lead paint issue well we can deal with that too. And if you want to get into what’s wrong with the type of growth that we now see in Harlem we may be on the same page. I was just in Albany with Met-Counsel fighting for rent control and affordable housing. Please don’t make a big issue of cigar smoking, it does not say anything about what I believe, it just means I like to smoke them, like Bill Cosby or Michael Jordan. You would not say that these guys have low self-esteem, would you? I don’t think so. Let’s find a middle ground, if you don’t like cigar smoking, well just don’t do it!

  2. Kevin W Thorburne said, “Here is an open question for you…..If a brother wants to open his on place for his friends to enjoy what they do, what’s the problem?” My Answer is: Black communities are notorious targets of an array of “vices” that destroy the health of the people. Alcohol & Tobacco, both these industries target Black communities in ways they do not White communities, this is well documented. Black communities are notorious for having far and few betweeen healthy food choices. The state of Black health is awful, Blacks generally fail on getting checkups for everthing from cancer to teeth decay. The notion of a CigarBar & Lounge opening in Harlem in 2009 is a regressive step, NOT a progressive step. It speaks to a time and a place of ignorance, when people did not know the myriad and array of damage of tobacco products to the health of people. It’s no different than a Black person opening a home improvement, decor or designer business and proclaiming and heralding the use of lead paint. Seriously – there was a time when people did not know how lead paint destroyed health. Now we know, and we avoid lead paint – really due to law & Government, not industry. If it was up to industry, we would have lead based products -as they are cheaper to produce – and we see shady products coming in from China that are lead based. Well…… Why not the same enlightenment with Tobacco as we do with Lead? The difference? One had lobby in Washington DC that’s been successful in allowing it’s products to flow – the other does not. So yes, a “Cigar Lounge’ in Harlem in 2009 illustrates Black ignorance and low self esteem and little more. There is a reason smoking a cigar is unlawful in all sorts of places in America. Is it really news that their is health foundation for making these laws? Smoke cigars in the privacy of your own home… not open a business that’s goal is to lure the public into its own demise…..there is a difference. What you do behind your closed doors is your business. What you do as a business and part of a community is OUR business – and that’s why there are zoning laws and communities that don’t allow Porn and X rated movies, bars serving alcohol, strip joints, the selling of firearms, etc. in their community. In looking at the state of Black Health in Harlem – not only should cigarettes and cigars be illegal, Fried freakin food should be illegal! But it’ not, and only 25% maybe of the people in Harlem have health insurance and what people don’t do is look at how our pocket books, out wallets are attacked, how we tax payers support people that have made poor health choices for decades of Big Macs and Wings, etc. This is a community mostly on public assistance and welfare…and I this community DOES NOT pay its own freight when it comes to health care. So sure, open your Cigar shop….but it should be taxd 2000% to pay for the damage it causes in the commuity…and all this crap should be taxed, the fast food, the sugar water drinks. Industry sells products in Harlem, and tax payers pay for the damage of those product in taxes in health costs. Its’ all screwed up and a Cigar Bar adds to the problem in the most blatant way……

  3. First, let me address the person who feels that cigar smoking is some white guy thing. Here is an open question for you. You seem to have a problem with Black folks enjoying the things that they are passionate about, and cigar smoking is a passion. I have been smoking for over 20 years and although I have health issues I smoke from time to time. There is nothing elitist about smoking cigars, we just enjoy them. You should take the time to learn about something beforw you pass judgement. If a brother wants to open his on place for his friends to enjoy what they do, what’s the problem. It’s not money that makes you like cigars, It’ good taste. I have a great time last night at the opening of Madison Cigar Lounge and although I will not spend a lot of time there I know when I do I will greatly enjoy it. So please as the kids say, stop hating!

  4. A culture & community of low self esteem wherein people define themselves and feel better about themselves if they behave like sheep, and smoke cigars in a lounge, why? Because a certain set of pop culture markets the notion and image that they have “arrived” and they are “successful” by doing so. Any chance this cigar lounge will have framed art on the walls?…pictures of the teeth of cigar smokers of some years? How about the lungs of cigar smokers of some years? It’s ridiculous in 2009, the things we (Black folk) do to make us feel better about ourselves, how we let others define us. The Sisters are Blonde straight hair weaved down their backs to their butts, the Brothers are smoking cancer devices, and why? We buy into what others define as attractive, successful, etc. Our health, our esteem, we’re suckers, sheep, as a group we can do and support the dumbest sh*t possible, like smoking cigars. There should be a law that cigar smokers are required to have the best health insurance there is, there is very good chance 50% of the people that cater this cigar shop don’t have health insurance at all, and will ultimately have the tax payer pay the freight for their foolish choices. But let me shut my mouth, after all, this is “upscale” and lord knows Black folk wanna be “upscale” as defined by the White man. So we open Cigar loungers, Caviar Bars, and Exotic Car Dealerhips in of all places, “HARLEM”. None of it makes any sense, and all of it points to the demise of Black Harlem. We’re a foolish people and focus on foolish things while the culture dies on a vine. Open Question. What about kissing a cigar smoker is sexy? Good grief….

  5. Hmmm….interesting. I was talking to a co worker of mine about the reopening of the cigar lounge. I hope it does well the second time around, though I’m not a cigar smoker.

  6. Oh crap, Another so called luxury cigar place. We don’t need all of this luxury crap what we need is affordable housing , food coops, great supermarkets (shop rite, stop and shop etc.)

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