Donovan Singleton wants to create a Farmington cigar bar that will appeal even to those who don’t smoke cigars.
Singleton received city council approvals on Monday for a redevelopment liquor license with permission for Sunday sales, a Dance Permit, and an Entertainment Permit to open Loft Cigar Lounge at 33419 Grand River in downtown Farmington. He will also need an exemption from the State of Michigan’s smoke-free law, which prohibits smoking inside all restaurants, bars, and other businesses.
“My intent… is to have an open and welcoming environment for anyone who would like to smoke cigars but doesn’t know how,” Singleton told officials. “I’m looking to provide an atmosphere and space for the local community to come and congregate.”
The lounge will have seating for 50, with eight of those seats at the bar. Singleton said he won’t serve food, but will encourage his clientele to bring in food from downtown restaurants. He will spend at least $75,000 building out the space, which is a requirement of the redevelopment liquor license.
A military veteran, Singleton works for the Department of Defense and has a background in supply chain management. He and his wife Renae, who is expecting their first child, are Farmington Hills residents.
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“My wife and I have frequented the downtown over the past year,” he said. “We realized it would be the perfect spot for this type of business.”
Council member Sara Bowman noted this is likely Farmington’s first cigar lounge. She asked Singleton how he would deal with the smoke. He said the state requires that smoke not encroach on neighboring facilities and has chosen to implement “smoke eaters.” They’ll clear the air between 14 and 20 times per minute.
“It’s a cigar lounge, it will be smoky,” he said, “but you won’t have any smoke in neighboring businesses or outside. I think even inside the space, you’ll find it comfortable to be sitting with cigar smokers.”
Council member Maria Taylor asked whether the lounge will have a dance floor. Downtown Development Authority Director Kate Knight said the dance permit is required because Michigan has strict standards.
“If you have a jazz trio in your establishment and someone is standing up at their table, that could be a violation,” she said. “It’s overkill, we just want to make sure they’re covered.”