Holt’s to operate Ashton Cigar Bar above its Rittenhouse Square store

Holt's Cigar Company

When Philadelphia outlawed smoking in nearly all indoor locations in 2007, it spared only those shops that made a good portion of their revenue from tobacco sales – namely, cigar shops. When Mahogany on Walnut shuttered last year after its lease expired, the city lost its premier (and virtually only) location that one could puff up a smoke cloud while surrounded by four walls. Now, one of the city’s few remaining smoke shops is reviving the business model in exactly the same place.

Holt’s Cigar Company, one of a trio of surviving downtown smoke shops, is nearly finished expanding into the second story of its building at 1522 Walnut St. on Rittenhouse Row with a brand-new cigar bar, to be called Ashton Cigar Bar after Holt’s own brand of cigars. (We had reported on this development earlier, but at that time, it was not clear who would own and operate the establishment.) While this conjures up memories of Mahogany, which had previously capped Holt’s, expect a more modern look and feel. In contrast to this space’s previous, more cramped incarnations, the new bar will be large and open with a focus on luxury. The owner promises a wide open space with a huge, serpentine cigar bar and full alcohol service to boot. The building has also been expanded to include significantly more storage space for all the extra product, with a 400-square-foot addition on the second floor and construction of a 750-square-foot room on the third floor.

Construction is expected to finish in the coming months, and Holt’s plans to open the cigar bar in May of 2013.