A new cigar bar has opened in downtown Dadeland, offering more than 170 whiskeys and 500 premium handcrafted cigar brands. Due to current bar restrictions in Miami-Dade County, the property’s temporary opening hours are Monday through Saturday 1:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. for retail use only.
Empire Social Lounge is the latest project from the owners of Casa De Montecristo by Prime Cigar & Whiskey Bar. The space was designed to accommodate business leaders during the day, then turn into a lounge at night.
“Empire Social Lounge is the latest expression of the Prime Cigar and Whiskey brand,” said Peter Berntsen, Managing Partner. New times. “While Prime Cigar Brickell has allowed us to serve the diverse crowd in downtown Miami, our new location will have a more intimate and neighborhood feel. We believe Downtown Dadeland is the perfect neighborhood to showcase our brand to residents of Kendall and South Miami. ”
Berntsen and his partners Jason Reznik and Ryan Leeds describe their latest concept as the embodiment of their brand motto: “sophisticated relaxation”. Prime Cigar Boca Raton, their first company, was well received by South Florida cigar and whiskey enthusiasts. This popularity spilled over to the duo’s second effort, Brickell’s Casa de Montecristo.
The success of these two locations has led to the creation of the Empire Social Lounge, which includes a cigar cellar and, when our current ban is lifted, a bar stocked with rare and hard-to-find whiskeys, a members’ lounge and a patio.
When designing the new space, the owners commissioned a state-of-the-art air control system. The innovative air conditioning replaces 100 percent of the air while it is in operation, providing an environment that will reduce smoke build-up once the county allows domestic consumption to resume. (For now, guests can enjoy their cigars outdoors.)
When the bar opens, it will do so with a menu intended for and palates of spirits lovers. Over 400 rare, limited edition and hard-to-find spirits, wines and cordials are available. Many – including a wide variety of whiskeys, bourbons, rums, vodkas, gins, tequilas, cordials and ports – will be available in servings of 1 to 2.5 ounces as well as by the bottle.
This is where mixologist Gustavo Martinez will step in, whose hospitality career spans more than ten years as a chef. New times Winner of ‘Best Cocktails’ at Alter in 2017, Martinez has since been named to the ‘Best Bar & Restaurants on the East Coast’ list at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards in 2018 and has been staged in award-winning bars including the Aviary in Chicago and Minibar by José Andrés in Washington, DC
Under his leadership, the cocktail menu will feature a list of unique libations. Highlights: the avant-garde spirit Hanzo Steel ($ 14) made with Kaiyo Japanese peaty whiskey, Monkey Shoulder Scotch whiskey, homemade caramelized orange agave, and Angostura chocolate bitters; and the Smoked Mez-Groni, a combination of Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Cynar 70, Zucca amaro and pine ($ 16).
Empire social fair. 8955 Dadeland Boulevard, Miami; 305-209-4987; empiresociallounge.com. Monday to Saturday 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.