Smoke on the Water
Inspired by a visit to the Newburgh waterfront, two entrepreneurs have created a traveling cigar-lover’s haven
Smoking or non? A unique mobile lounge service provides a cigar sanctuary for your next get-together
Photographs by Michael Nelson
What started out as a small idea between two friends has evolved into a unique business venture, charming tobacco aficionados throughout the Valley: a mobile cigar lounge.
It all began when Ray Cummings of Wallkill and Newburgh resident Hugh Donnegan were having drinks at the Newburgh waterfront, thinking about how relaxing it would be if they could smoke a couple of good cigars. Since there are no places to buy them in the immediate area, Cummings and Donnegan discussed the possibility of selling smokes themselves. “We saw a nearby hot dog vendor,” recalls Donnegan, “and we talked about how interesting a traveling humidor of cigars would be.” More ideas were tossed around, and before long, the plan for a mobile cigar bar was born.
Smoking section: Above, Blue Smoke co-owners Ray Cummings (left) and Hugh Donnegan enjoy a smoke; below, an outdoor setup of the lounge
The company, called Blue Smoke Cigar Lounge, is a catering service that provides everything necessary to create a casual-yet-sophisticated smoker’s parlor for parties and other social gatherings. At each event, they supply a humidor of cigars — including formidable brands such as Oliva, Padron, Ashton, and Rocky Patel — and furnish the location with cushy seating, side and coffee tables, carpeting, lighting, a Bose sound system, and other accessories to entertain guests for up to three hours. The lounge can be assembled indoors to transform a basement or garage, or the scene can be created outdoors — perfect for warm weather parties (and for those who prefer not to have the smoky smell linger in their homes). Upon request, a “cigarista” is available to assist with cutting and lighting stogies.
“We thought it would be a great idea for all types of events, from a groom celebrating with his groomsmen, to birthday parties, or corporate meetings,” Donnegan says. For now, he and Cummings mainly work in the mid-Hudson region, but will travel upstate or around the tristate area. Word has been spreading about the company, and they’ve received requests to cater events beyond what they originally imagined. In July, for instance, they’re booked at a biker rally/fund-raiser at Orange County Park in Montgomery.
Blue Smoke only began operating last August, but the owners have high hopes. If the company continues to thrive, there’s always the possibility of expansion or franchising, Donnegan says. And although the economy isn’t as steady as everyone hoped it would be, it seems that this one-of-a-kind business isn’t about to go up in smoke.
To book an event or for more information, check out their Web site at www.bluesmokecigarlounge.com.