Fresno Bee
- "Relax and enjoy a smoke at Cigar Mas Fino"

Co-owners Moses Soza Jr., left, and Moses Soza Sr. keep the room at Cigar Mas Fino at about 70 degrees, with humidified, cherry wood lockers for customers to store cigars. Diana Baldrica / The Fresno Bee

(Updated Monday, February 27, 2006, 5:43 AM)

Stogie fans have a place to call their own in north Fresno.

Cigar smokers finally have a place they can call home. Cigar Mas Fino (The Fine Cigar), a new smoking lounge in northeast Fresno, boasts leather couches, plasma televisions and the Valley's largest humidor. "It's kind of like 'Cheers' for smokers," says Ahmad Bahrami, 29, of Fresno, who makes the lounge a regular after-work stop.

"There's Norm and the whole gang there." That type of laid-back, relaxing atmosphere where people can chat it up and become smoking buddies is exactly what owners Moses Soza Sr., Sarrah Soza and Moses Soza Jr. wanted. "This is a high-end, first-class cigar lounge," Sarrah Soza says. "We have three full lounges where people can relax and enjoy a cigar. We're really proud of what we've built here.

" Moses Soza Sr. says the idea for opening Cigar Mas Fino came from a conversation with his son. He says they were talking about the lack of smoking establishments -- especially for those in north Fresno. After opening in mid-February, even he seemed surprised by the large number of regular patrons. "It was one of those 'build it and they will come things,' " he says. "We have regulars already. Believe it or not, our inventory is going down quickly." The lounge also includes the Valley's largest humidor, a large temperature-controlled room that contains cigars for patrons to buy. Sarrah Soza says the humidor is one element of the lounge that really impresses patrons.

Moses Soza Sr. (hand in foreground with cigar) smokes an Ashton Heritage cigar as children Moses Soza Jr. and Christina Soza sit in the background. Christina is smoking a C.A.O. Moon Trance cigar, which is said to be popular with women. Diana Baldrica / The Fresno Bee"It's great to see people walk in and watch the look on their faces when they get to see it," she says. During a recent grand-opening event, Fadi Kerio, a sales representative with the Oliva Cigar Family, remarked on Cigar Mas Fino, saying the atmosphere and quality of design reminded him of lounges in larger cities. He noted a bonus found here that is an issue in larger cities: parking. "If you come to spend $10 on a good cigar, you don't want to also spend $10 on parking," he says. Along with the three lounging areas, there's a dry bar where patrons can purchase sodas or other non-alcoholic beverages.

If you're new to smoking, you can stock up on paraphernalia such as humidors, cutters, lighters or other items. Cigar Mas Fino is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday hours are from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., or, says Sarrah Soza, "until the last ash drops."

By Derek Walter
June 20, 2006

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