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Enforcers biker club honchos open Smokey’s Cigar Bar on Daytona’s Main Street
DAYTONA BEACH — Rick “Rosco” Sessa likes a good cigar, and he’s fired up for the future of the new Smokey’s Cigar Bar on Main Street.
The tobacco started burning recently when the cigar bar opened for business at 516 Main St., serving up beer, wine and piano music along with the smokes.
“When I go out I like to go to a place where I can smoke a good cigar,” Sessa said. “That’s something that takes some time and you want to sit there and enjoy it.”
The business is owned by Sessa and his partner Rob “Phazer” Willis Jr., both ranking members of the Enforcer’s Motorcycle Club which has a chapter in Holly Hill.
Smokey’s Cigar Bar is part of a throttling up of interest in business development along Main Street, which for years has had many vacant storefronts occupied only during Biketoberfest and Bike Week.
A Canadian developer recently acquired the former Beach Photo building at 604 Main St. and a long vacant two-story building at 504 Main St. Potential uses for the buildings include retail shops, restaurants, apartments or a boutique hotel. Last August, a pair of business partners bought a building at 816 Main St. and opened Pallet Pub and Hopcycles.
Sessa and Willis are now among Main Street’s new entrepreneurs. On a recent day the men stood inside, pointing out the humidors, the ornate wooden side-bar imported from Colombia and the baby-grand piano fitted with a custom bar top, giving patrons a place to put their drinks as they listen to a piano player while smoking cigars.
“As you can see we did it with a lot of class and elegance,” Willis said. “We are trying to complement the rest of the business here on Main Street and help the city rebuild Main Street and make it great for everybody.”
And don’t worry: The owners say Smokey’s won’t be too smoky. Sessa and Willis will have air purifiers and smoke-eating ashtrays gobbling up the fumes.
“I smoke cigars. I enjoy it but I don’t want to be in a room full of smoke,” Sessa said. “We have smokeless ashtrays that actually suck the smoke out.”
Patrons can light up at the cigar bar from 5 p.m. to midnight daily. But the partners plan to extend the hours to all day when the Main Street Barbershop, which first opened in 1949, moves to its new location across the street.
Sessa hopes customers who go in for a cut at the oldest business on Main Street will then walk across the road to the newest business on Main Street for a drink or a smoke. And it doesn’t have to be beer since by then the cigar bar will be brewing coffee and espresso.
“I’m hoping we get a back and forth going,” he said.
Sessa, who retired with the rank of commander from the Riviera Beach Police Department, is the national president of the Enforcers Motorcycle Club, which focuses on attracting members with law enforcement and military backgrounds. Willis is the president of the club’s Daytona Beach chapter which has a clubhouse in Holly Hill. However, the cigar bar is not owned by the club.
And Smokey’s is for everyone — biker, nonbiker, local or tourists. The pair hope that tourists make the short trip from the beach or nearby hotels.
The bar is also color-friendly, Sessa said, meaning that bikers from other clubs can walk in wearing their club’s insignias or “colors.”
“The focus isn’t on colors or not,” Sessa said. “We are not going to discriminate against anybody. We believe firmly in the First Amendment’s rights and the U.S. Constitution.
“People who come in, act responsible, that’s who we want, as in any other establishment. We welcome everybody.”
Sessa lives in South Florida but has been coming to Daytona Beach for a while. He said he had been thinking of opening a cigar bar for several years and had been looking for a good storefront. Then he saw a spot at the corner of Main Street and Oleander Avenue.
“I found this place and it just looked perfect,” he said.
Sessa and Willis renovated the interior, brought in the bars, the piano and the furniture, the back and side bar. They installed three televisions sets for patrons to watch.
Cigars will run from $5 to $20. But Smokey’s will also sell cigarettes. And last weekend, as lifted trucks converged on Daytona Beach for Truck Meet, Sessa said Smokey’s stocked up on a supply of chewing tobacco.
Sessa and Willis credited city officials with being helpful and welcoming through the process of opening the cigar bar. Now they are looking for staff and talent for the cigar bar, including a piano player.
They already have the mascot: Sessa’s 7-year-old boxer named Smokey who the men said has a heart of gold despite the dog’s tough demeanor.
The bar’s poster features a portrait of the dog, a cigar between its teeth.
“He came from the Smoky Mountains. He’s a fantastic dog. You’d swear this dog was half human,” Willis said.
“Smokey does ride a motorcycle,” Sessa said.
Willis points to a wall with a wooden sign with the name “Moto Guzzi,” saying that the dog rides on one of the Italian motorcycles.
“In a side car,” Sessa said.
Does Smokey smoke?
“No,” Sessa said.
Willis laughs, adding, “Not yet.”