“PEOPLE ALWAYS ASK WHY I CHOSE THIS ODD LOCATION AND I TELL THEM, ‘IT CHOSE ME.’” IT STARTS WITH A 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 www.magnumcigarwineliquor.com 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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