When Nevada passed a law banning smoking in places that serve food, Susan and Jeff Melvin discovered it created a niche for people looking for a smoking option.
The Melvins opened Jimmy G's Cigar Bar in downtown Carson City on June 5. While they don't serve food, the option for patrons to light up is good for business.
"The nice thing is, people can choose," Susan Melvin said. "If they want to go somewhere where there is no smoking, they can, or where people can smoke, they can."
Melvin said customers can order lunch or dinner from nearby Garibaldi's or Kim Lee Sushi and have it delivered.
The interior is spacious with a high ceiling and upscale decor. Gaming machines will soon be added to the bar, where there is a generous selection of scotch, bourbon, vodka, beers and wines. Out the back door is a relaxing patio area protected from the wind on three sides.
"The patio is great if you have a couple where one smokes and the other doesn't, and she can eat sushi while he smokes cigars," Melvin said. "It works out pretty well in that respect."
This is the second Jimmy G's in the area. The Melvins opened a restaurant in Minden in 2004, and converted it to a cigar bar without food in 2006 after the state smoking law went into effect. It proved successful enough to expand the concept to Carson City.
"We have a lot of customers who go there from Carson, and they said they wanted us to have a place in Carson," Melvin said. "So, we opened a place in Carson for them."
Melvin takes customer feedback seriously. The first day, someone asked if they had wireless Internet access, so she had it set up the next day. Others asked about televisions, which are now installed. Someone else commented that the martinis were too expensive, so she lowered the price.
"I am really interested in feedback," she said. "We always like to hear people's input, and we try to accommodate everyone."
But what they will not change is the more mature, sophisticated image they have in mind for the bar.
"We don't want it to be a clubby scene here," she said. "We want to keep it more intimate, quieter and friendly."
The bar has about 4,000 cigars in stock in all price ranges. Melvin said her husband Jeff is the cigar lover in the family and got her interested in them.
"In the last few years, I've tried to learn everything about cigars that I could learn," she said. "They aren't as simple as people think. There's different kinds of flavors, of leaves, of fillers and binders and wrappers."
The couple is planning several events with cigar makers, where patrons can get samples and discounts, and learn more about their favorite cigars. The first event is with Rocky Patel Cigars at 5 p.m. July 16. They also plan to host scotch and wine tastings in the future.
Jimmy G's is the second cigar bar in the neighborhood, with the Carson Cigar Company across the street behind B'Sghetti's. But Melvin said she thinks that is a good thing.
"People want variety, and there are plenty of cigar smokers to go around," she said. "The more places where people can smoke, the better for all of us."
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