Seattle event aims to bring cigar bars back to restaurants

The first ever Seattle Cigar Expo took place this past weekend and featured several Washington Restaurant Association members such as El Gaucho, The Ram, Via Tribunali and Caffe Vita.

“(Cigar bars) were so important for our operations because that was one of the ways we structured our business model around.” said MacKay Restaurant Group CEO Paul MacKay, which operates El Gaucho. “We have a lot of supporters and I look at this as a good event to show the press that we aren’t bad people.”

The Expo took place at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavillion and was segmented into an outdoor section and an indoor section. The smoking area operated within the parameters of the state’s smoking ban and was confined around a grass area that included a stage and several cabanas. Many local restaurants served everything from prime steak to tequila infused tacos, and wine and spirits were served via booths scattered throughout the Pavillion.

The event helped to kick off efforts by the Cigar Association of Washington and the Cigar Rights of America to increase awareness of the cigar culture and promote the re-entry of cigar bars in the state.