Key West’s cigar legacy dates back to the mid-19th century, when Cuban refugees began fleeing to the island during their country’s revolution against Spain. The Cubans brought with them their long-standing tradition of hand-rolled cigars, and soon the island was home to dozens of cigar factories. By the turn of the century, Key West was producing more than 100 million cigars per year and was known as the cigar capital of the world.
The industrial cigar trade eventually moved to other parts of Florida and the Caribbean, but the island still celebrates its cigar-making roots through local Key West cigar lounges, cigar shops, and independent cigar manufacturers. Gates Hotel brings a modern twist to this longstanding tradition with its very own cigar lounge and garden featuring Rodriguez Cigars.
Founded in 1984, Rodriguez Cigar Factory is the oldest operating cigar manufacturer in Key West, producing hand-rolled cigars with cured and aged vintage tobacco leaves in the traditional Cuban style. The Rodriguez family’s legacy in cigars date back to the 1950s, when they first mastered the art of cultivating tobacco on their family plantation in Cuba. Following the nationalization of private businesses, the family then settled in Key West, where they continued their cigar-making tradition.
This heritage shines through in their beautifully crafted cigars. At the Rodriguez Cigar Lounge at Gates Key West, guests can choose from a selection of Rodriguez Cigars to smoke in our Key West cigar lounge’s outdoor garden, or purchase gifts, humidors, and other cigar accessories to take home. If you’re a cigar aficionado, join our mailing list to learn more about cigar-rolling lessons and other events at our Key West cigar lounge.