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North Side’s new Burn by Rocky Patel offers upscale cigars along with entertainment |
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North Side’s new Burn by Rocky Patel offers upscale cigars along with entertainment

Michael DiVittorio
| Friday, April 6, 2018 10:06 a.m

Burn by Rocky Patel Pittsburgh is not only a place to light up a premium cigar.

It’s about more than smoking.

“We wanted to bring the eclectic culture and cutting edge of a cigar lounge to the nightlife in Pittsburgh,” says owner and renowned cigar aficionado Rocky Patel on April 5 inside the new establishment. “It’s not only a cigar lounge. It’s a beautiful space for people to come and enjoy. They will have an opportunity to smoke a cigar, but they can also enjoy a cocktail, great food and amazing entertainment. We want to change the stereotype of a cigar bar. Look at this place. It includes details which make it look like a lobby at a seven-star hotel in Dubai or London.”

Pittsburgh is a great cigar town, says Patel, who will see if it is when Burn officially opens April 7 on the North Shore. He’s created a concept where guests can relax on one of the many leather chairs or couches, cozy up to the bar for a drink and some food, all while listening to music, and enjoying a few puffs of tobacco they’ve found inside the humidor filled with more than 500 cigars from 19 companies, mainly in Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

Pittsburgh is the second location for Burn after Naples, Fla., where Patel lives. Atlanta, Oklahoma City and Indianapolis will follow. The decor is inspired by the city with steel beams and a photo of the late icon Art Rooney Sr., pictured with a cigar in his mouth. Rocky Patel’s brother, Nish, says they plan to create a cigar just for Pittsburgh, inspired by “The Chief” (Rooney Sr.).

“Pittsburgh is a huge smoking city,” Nish Patel says. “It’s a place that appreciates sophistication and elegance. Cigar smoking is about the experience. There is great conversation among cigar smokers, and you will see everyone from a CEO to a janitor to a teacher to a construction worker to a retiree sitting at the same table smoking a cigar and sharing interesting dialogue. And we are seeing more and more women smoking cigars.”

Burn by Rocky Patel really calls back to the local community, says Warren Weixler, principal and CEO of Swatchroom, a design, art and fabrication company based in Washington D.C. that designed the lounge.

“Each location represents the individual experience of the city,” Weixler says. “It’s a luxury lifestyle experience. Cigar smoking is social and creating the space is about paring this experience with another experience, such as guests who stop before or after a Pirates or Steelers game or a show at Stage AE.”

The 6,500 square-foot-lounge has two VIP areas and two full-size bars stocked with plenty of top-shelf liquor and fine wines. There are nine televisions and a projector, as well as an expansive patio, and retail area, selling Rocky Patel merchandise. The place has the “Cadillac of HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) systems,” Weixler says.

There will be daily entertainment from bands to disc jockeys.

The kitchen serves items such as salads and soups to blackened flank steak tacos, salmon tartare, beef braised carrots, sweet potato gnocchi, four types of pizza and locally sourced desserts from Millie’s Ice Cream and Pie Bird Bakery.

“We have come into the North Shore at the right time,” says general manager Daniel Williams. “We are already hearing from people who want to book parties and events here. No one else is doing what we are doing. And with Rocky’s name on it, it will be successful.”

The climate-controlled humidor is stocked with hundreds of cigars, 60 percent from Rocky’s collections. Other choices include Padron, Hamlet, Liga Privada, Java, Ashton and Leaf, from locally owned Leaf & Bean by “Island” Jim Robinson. He says it is an honor to have his cigars here. Most prices are in the $9 to $40 range. There are 84 private lockers.

Before summer, a shipment will arrive of $200 to $500 pre-embargo Cuban cigars.

Rocky Patel’s reputation will help bring in some fo the most sought after cigars, says Brett Harrington, director of cigar operations.

“Cigars bring people together,” Harrington says. “If you’ve got a cigar in your hand you’ve got something to talk about.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-853-5062 or or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, or via Twitter .

Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Daniel Williams, the general manager for Burn by Rocky Patel, poses for a portrait before their soft opening, on Pittsburgh's North Shore, on Thursday, April 5, 2018.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Rocky Patel (left), talks to his general manager Daniel Williams, before a soft opening party at the newly finished Burn by Rocky Patel, on Pittsburgh's North Shore, on Thursday, April 5, 2018.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Burn by Rocky Patel, in Pittsburgh's North Shore, on Thursday, April 5, 2018.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Daniel Williams is the general manager for Burn by Rocky Patel on Pittsburgh's North Shore, on Thursday, April 5, 2018.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
The humidor at Burn by Rocky Patel, on Pittsburgh's North Shore, on Thursday, April 5, 2018.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
A portrait of the late Art Rooney hangs on the wall of the newly opened Burn by Rocky Patel, on Pittsburgh's North Shore, on Thursday, April 5, 2018.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
The newly opened Burn by Rocky Patel, on Pittsburgh's North Shore, on Thursday, April 5, 2018.
Cigars from Pittsburgh-based Leaf & Bean at the newly opened BURN by Rocky Patel, a cigar lounge on Pittsburgh's North Shore.
Cigars at the newly opened BURN by Rocky Patel, a cigar lounge on Pittsburgh's North Shore.
Michael DiVittorio
The Lot, a new restaurant and cigar bar, recently opened at the Edgewater development in Oakmont.
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