Cigar smoke clings to the air inside the Habana Cuba Cigar Lounge like two teenagers on senior prom night. The baseball game on the giant plasma screen TV set is drowned out by the din of men decked out in guayaberas and dress slacks playing bones on the two tournament tables. They munch on pastelitos and drink Cuba libres. Armando Lopez, a plump Miami Lakes retiree who cautiously nursed his rum and coke on a recent night, avoided the taunts from his pal, Marcelo Llavore, to drink more. "You just want to throw me off my game," Lopez hissed. At another table a bald Cubanazo with a bushy mustache slammed down a nine. "DOMINO!" he bellowed. His opponent gritted his teeth and clenched his right fist. The lounge's owner, Rafael Nodal — who bears a striking resemblance to actor Joe Mantegna — slyly stepped in before the fisticuffs flew. "Gentlemen, por favor, we're not in Little Havana," Nodal chastised, holding a smoldering stogie in his right hand. Last year the gregarious Cuban opened the lounge as a way to promote his line of Cuban-American cigars. Now the lounge has morphed into one of the few places men can release their testosterone-fueled competitiveness seven days a week. "We're all about creating a nice ambiance," Nodal says, "where you can enjoy a good, stiff drink and a fine cigar."

Location Details

5348 Northwest 79th Court
Hialeah FL 33015


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