In the realm of Cuban cigars, London stands as an unmatched epicenter. From Hunters & Frankau, the exclusive importer of Cuban tobacco in the UK, to the array of specialized retailers and lounges, the British capital is a haven for the cigar connoisseur.
This Friday, September 8, marks a momentous occasion as Ajay and Bhavna Patel toast to 30 years in the cigar industry. The duo, who founded the UK's inaugural La Casa del Habano, Hava Havana, and the luxurious No. 6 Cavendish lounge, will host a massive celebration atop the Madison Rooftop Terrace.
With a panoramic view of St. Paul's Cathedral, the Madison Rooftop Terrace offers an ambiance reminiscent of the Kempinski Hotel’s view overlooking Havana’s Capitolio. The celebration will be a gathering of long-time clients and friends, all eager to commemorate the Patels' milestone, while, of course, enjoying an “extraordinary” selection of cigars handpicked by Ajay himself from his personal collection, in addition to cigars supplied by Hunters & Frankau, Davidoff of Geneva, and Tor Imports.
Online tickets are still up for grabs at £350 each, inclusive of gourmet food, craft cocktails, and four cigars.
Ajay's passion for cigars dates back to 1989 when he was employed at his father's Richmond cigarette store. This interest matured into a full-blown obsession with Cuban cigars, leading him to amass one of the UK’s largest collections of vintage pieces.
Their enterprise had humble beginnings as a Teddington-based general store, "The Paper Shop," in 1993. This venue gave Ajay the opportunity to diversify into Cuban cigars.
Seizing upon the late '90s cigar boom, the Patels expanded their reach with one of the first online cigar boutiques, Broadweighs Cigar Store, connecting them to a nationwide audience of aficionados.
The introduction of the indoor smoking bans in 2007 created a turbulent and unpredictable period for Cuban cigars smokers in the United Kingdom that ultimately led to massive innovation within the segment through the creation of specialized indoor sampling lounges. In 2008, Ajay and Bhavana relocated to a larger space in Teddington and opened HavaHavana, the country’s first ‘La Casa Del Habano.” The new premises also featured one of the country’s first indoor sampling lounges.
Fast forward to December 2019, Ajay and Bhavna realized a culmination of their collective vision with the establishment of a new luxury sampling lounge in Cavendish Square in Central London. No.6 Cavendish is regarded as a favorite amongst many of London’s passionate smokers of fine Cuban tobacco.
Rekha, the Patels' eldest daughter, now manages the day-to-day operations at No. 6 Cavendish, embodying the next generation of this family venture.
As the family gears up for Friday’s lavish festivities, they express their profound thanks to their community of loyal customers, friends, and family. Ajay, Bhavna, and Rekha view their venture as more than a business; it's a community united by the love of cigars. The upcoming event promises to be an unforgettable tribute to their 30-year journey, while also heralding an exciting future.