Plainfield couple to open Horsepower Cigar Lounge in Uncasville
UNCASVILLE— There’s a new place for cigar smokers coming to Uncasville.
The Horsepower Cigar Lounge, located at 601 Norwich-New London Turnpike, is expected to open in early January, as soon as the space is fitted with an HVAC system. Hours should be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weeknights, with a closing time of 11 p.m. on weekends.
“We can’t wait to go,” said Paul Athey, who co-owns the business with his wife Choon Athey.
The idea to open Horsepower came from the burnout of Paul Athey who worked at Mohegan Sun for 25 years.
“We wanted to create a unique, fun and social place for people,” said Paul Athey.
Paul and Choon Athey have visited cigar rooms for years, traveling from their home in Plainfield to places in Hartford and Old Saybrook, or even Coventry and Cranston in Rhode Island.
Part of the uniqueness comes from the aesthetics, mixing cigars with racing, as Paul Athey had been a racing car driver. This can be seen in the wall decorations and Paul’s old racing suit, right down to the tables and lamps made from vintage car parts, which cover both the public lounge up front and the members lounge at the front. ‘back. Paid subscriptions give people other perks like cooking use and cigar discounts.
Running is also how Paul Athey started smoking cigars about 25 years ago. He was on his way to an errand in the south, when he stopped at a department store, which had a humidor. He got hold of cigars, and since then having a cigar after a race has become a tradition.
Choon Athey has only been smoking for about ten years, but she grew up around her grandfather smoking a pipe.
“I love the smell; I bet everyone loves the smell of a pipe,” Choon Athey said. “So I met Paul and he smokes cigars so I said ‘I want to try'”
For people who aren’t used to smoking cigars, Paul Athey said it’s all about chilling out. It takes an hour of your day to savor one, rather than something quick like a cigarette. As for the atmosphere of the cigar lounge, Paul Athey said there was a wide variety of people one could meet.
“You could be sitting next to a blue collar worker or the business owner or anyone else,” Paul Athey said. “Everyone is there for the same reason, so there is common ground. “
As for the cigars themselves, they are kept in a humidor called the Cigar Garage. Prices range from a few dollars apiece to Cohiba cigars which cost $ 129.99, as Paul Athey said, this is a special type that has a small production every year. However, Paul Athey also said that while cigars were expensive for many years, they have become cheaper and options in the range of $ 5 exist.
Another perception that has changed is the number of women who smoke cigars. Paul Athey said many of the cigar bars he has visited have up to 40% female customers, and the couple even have a few women among those waiting for Horsepower’s membership program to kick off.
“I always see women there, they smoke too,” Choon Athey said.
You would think that a cigar bar would face competition from other businesses in the area, like vaping parlors or the legalization of retail marijuana businesses in the spring.
However, Paul Athey said there was limited crossbreeding between the three.
“It’s a different bunch, and it’s more the atmosphere of the cigar rooms that people enjoy,” Athey said.
While Paul Athey wants the business to be successful, he also wants Horsepowered to be known “as a friendly place where everyone is welcome”.
“We want to give people another option to go out and enjoy the day,” said Paul Athey.