Things are about to heat up on the North Shore. BURN by Rocky Patel, a sleek cigar lounge, will open April 7.
Patel, a former entertainment and product liability lawyer in Los Angeles, was introduced to the cigar world through his celebrity clients. His passion for smoking grew and, in 1996, he founded Indian Tabac Cigar Co.
Known for bold packaging and exotic blends, Patel’s name became synonymous with high-end cigars. The first BURN lounge opened in Naples, Fla., in 2010. Pittsburgh boasts the second site and new venues will soon pop up in Oklahoma City, Nashville, Atlanta and Indianapolis.
Located on North Shore Drive between Heinz Field and PNC Park, the 6,500-square-foot space features a walk-in humidor, main dining room, two V.I.P. areas, 30-seat bar, covered patio with a full-service drink station, nine televisions and a big screen for gameday. A state-of-art ventilation system ensures that visitors won’t be lost in a cloud of smoke.
“No one else in town is going to be able to offer the all-around quality of service that we do,” says General Manager Daniel Williams. “We’re showcasing the local character while maintaining Rocky’s brand.”
Swatchroom, a Washington, D.C.-based design firm, gave the new space a sophisticated, Mediterranean aesthetic with nods to local flavor – such as rusted, steel accents and portraits of the late, cigar-chompin’ Steelers owner Art Rooney in the Pittsburgh lounge.
The walk-in humidor, made from Spanish cedar, is stocked with hundreds of cigar options from 19 top manufacturers. Average prices range from $5 to $30.
Humidor Manager Josh Mills worked at a cigar shop while in college at Robert Morris University and later traveled to Patel’s factory in Nicaragua to learn about the business.
“Growing tobacco isn’t the same kind of agriculture as growing potatoes,” he says. “It’s like growing orchids. Rolling cigars is an art form.”
In addition to cigars, BURN sells the full line of Rocky Patel products, from ashtrays and cigar cutters to lighters and humidors. Guests can also purchase one of 84 private VIP lockers where they can store cigars, liquor and other items. The price is $2,000 for a year and $1,500 to renew.
Chef Michael Rado, who worked at Rivers Casino and has appeared on several cooking shows on the Esquire Network, designed the menu and will also do food pairings — such as chocolate truffles and cigars — for special events.
BURN will be open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week and is available for private parties. The venue will feature DJs and live performances, as well as a weekly Ladies’ Night to welcome more women into the cigar world.
Bringing Patel’s lounge to Pittsburgh has been a two-year process.
“This is a prime location,” Williams says. “It’s the best spot we could be in. We’re going to help the North Shore grow into what we all thought it could be.”