Amar M. Patel has turned a small cigar shop
                                                                        into a hangout worth playing hooky for
                                                   BY DAVID TYDA
                                     PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS LOOMIS   “IT SOUNDS LIKE SUCH A CLICHÉ,          million later, the coolest lounge in
                                                                   but it’s all about customer service,”   Phoenix was created. Walk through
                                                                   says Amar M. Patel, the 29-year-        the non-descript door to the left of
                                                                   old owner of Magnum’s Cigars in         the shop’s entrance and you will
                                                                   North Phoenix. Before you read any      step into the Magnum’s lounge, or,
                                                                   further, know this: there are two       out of reality and into something
                                                                   misleading parts of this opening        much, much cooler.
                                                                   sentence. One—by customer                   A bar-to-ceiling wall of fine liquor
                                                                   service, Patel means more than          lights most of the room, which is
                                                                   being friendly; he’s talking about      filled with about four high-tops, two
                                                                   creating a seamless “lifestyle          poker tables, a couple leather sofas,
                                                                   experience” that can last anywhere      and the 10-seat, granite-topped bar.
                                                                   from five minutes to five hours.        Three flat-screens play live concerts
                                                                   Two—cigars only tell a fraction         (think Clapton, B.B. King) unless
                                                                   of the story of what goes on            it’s game-time. Surround sound
                                                                   at Magnum’s.                            speakers make it feel more like your
                                                                       A few years ago, Patel and          own living room. Hell, you can even
                                                                   his father purchased a fledgling        smoke cigarettes.
                                                                   cigarette shop at 7th Street and            “If 51 percent of a business’
                                                                   Union Hills and grew the business       sales come from tobacco, smoking
                                                                   in the old-fashioned way—getting        is legal on premises,” says Patel
                                                                   to know the customers. Eventually,      with a wink. One thing Patel doesn’t
                                                                   they added cigars to the inventory.     wink about: his air filtration system.
                                                                   “Our humidor was a joke, it was         If it’s possible to walk out of a cigar
                                                                   50 square feet,” Patel recalls with a   lounge without smelling like smoke,
Opposite: Amar M. Patel.                                           smile. “Two people couldn’t stand       it’s possible at Magnum’s.
Above: Magnum’s signature                                          in it at the same time!”                    The drink menu is so long it
drink is a mix of Hennessy
X.O and macadamia nut                                                  When he was ready to expand,        takes up two leather-bound
liquor, set atop a glass                                           he spotted a diner across the           volumes. Name a bottle, it’s on the
of steamed water for five                                          strip mall and made an offer on         list. Although members have access
minutes. After the spirits
                                                                   the space. Patel says, “The night       to a private room with an X-Box and
have marinated, the drink is
set on fire then transferred                                       after we signed the deal, hammers       larger television, there’s a waiting
to the water glass (after the                                      started swinging,” and so began         list about two-dozen people deep
water’s been poured out) so                                        the journey towards what is today       at the time of this writing. But if
the serving glass is warm
but not fire-hot.                                                  Magnum’s Cigars, Wine, and Spirits      anyone, member or non-member,
                                                                   shop, complete with a 550-square-       gets hungry in between Gurkha’s
                                                                   foot humidor, four aisles of wine,      and Macallan’s, just phone in an
Magnum’s, 731 E. Union Hills Drive


                                                                   hundreds of beers, and virtually        order for sushi or pizza or subs and
                                                                   every premium spirit on the market.     Magnum’s will plate it up.
Phoenix, AZ, 602.493.8977

                                                                       The regulars knew two things:           When you stop in, have a smoke
                                                                   they could always find what             with Patel and get the rest of the
                                                                   they wanted and the staff would         story. He’ll likely be wearing a
                                                                   remember every detail, down             traditional Cuban guayabera shirt
                                                                   to your comments on the last            and Panama hat. And if you ask him
                                                                   cigar you smoked there. Still, the      what makes Magnum’s so special,
                                                                   experience wasn’t up to Patel’s par.    his answer will be “the whole
                                                                   So in the adjacent space, hammers       lifestyle experience.” That, and the
                                                                   started swinging again and about $1     customer service.

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