A Walking Tour of Calle Ocho, Little Havana

Warning: on Sunday morning, I’m going to be in a foul mood. Stay away from me for a few days. I arrived in Miami on Tuesday for a short vacation with my wife. It’s Friday, and I have two more days in this 72 degree weather. I’ll return to Cincinnati Saturday night, where the temps are currently in the 20s and the ground is covered with snow.

I’m El Jefe, and I’m here to help you. I am going to help you by giving you a taste of Little Havana as I guide you down Calle Ocho (Eighth Street, Miami), from West to East. When you’re finished reading this, you will taste the great weather, the Cuban sandwiches and coffee, and of course, fine boutique cigars.

The focus is on cigars, but I’ll sprinkle in some other cultural elements as well. For the most part, I’m going to highlight the cigar retailers and lounges you need to visit. At the end of this article I will Say, “There’s also. . . .” Let’s just say this is my way of saying, “Spend your time at the aforementioned places.” The four-digit numbers in parentheses after the location are the address numbers on Calle Ocho.

El Titan de Bronze (1071)

The first stop is El Titan de Bronze. Stop here first and speak with Sandy or her daughter Giselle. They are both very knowledgeable and will be glad to give you a great education on cigars. I spoke with Sandy the first time I was in Miami. She has a great story about her blend, My Way. As a Frank Sinatra fan and a cigar expert, she produced a great cigar, doing it her way. There were no less than 15 rollers, as El Titan de Bronze not only produces their own line of cigars, but rolls for other famous brands as well.

Rollers at El Titan de Bronze.

Cigar Boutique of Little Havana (1100)

Next we visit Cigar Boutique of Little Havana, just across the street from El Titan de Bronze. Cesar, the owner, is very knowledgable about the industry, and used to work for Ernesto Carillo. The “distinguished shop occupies the cherished site of the El Credito Cigar Factory, a bastion of cigar-making tradition in the United States” (Read more here).

Bay of Pigs Memorial

Be sure to stop at The Bay of Pigs in the 1300 block of Calle Ocho. Stop and read the history.

Domino Park (Calle Ocho and 15th Ave.)

Mostly older Cubans gather at Domino Park to enjoy camaraderie while playing their favorite game. This famous tourist attraction is a small city park that was once an even better place to enjoy the company of friends. Thanks to the city government, Cubans can no longer enjoy smoking their cigars here. I believe this explains why the park is not full of domino players. “NO FUMAR” here. Really?

Havana Classic Cigar (1419)

Havana Classic Cigar is a favorite lounge of mine and retails house blends, including bourbon-infused cigars. Great Cuban coffee, the Cohoba Salon Art Store, and cigar rollers as you walk in the front door. A friendly, knowledgeable staff. Very comfortable and inviting atmosphere. I enjoyed a habano robusto while chilling out and writing this article.

El Cristo Restaurant (1543)

Stop at El Cristo for a delicious Cuban sandwich, seafood and other Cuban delicacies!

Cubano Sandwich: Ham, pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and a touch of mustard on Cuban bread at El Cristo.

Art District Cigars (1638)

Another favorite lounge of mine, Art District Cigars, is a great place to hang out, and contains some house blends and famous brands. It is listed in Cigar Aficionado’s “Fifty Distinctive Places Where You Can Smoke a Cigar.”

Art District Cigars’ Lounge

Mr Cigars (Calle Ocho and SW 16th ave.)

Mr. Cigars has a nice selection of house cigars of all different strengths and profiles, a spacious lounge and a very friendly and knowledgeable host. Thanks Eva, for your conversation and the complimentary Cuban coffee!

Versailles Restaurant (3555)

Versailles Restaurant, “The World’s Most Famous Cuban restaurant,” is quite the dining experience with a French name, and is sure to please! While it is quite a few blocks away from the majority of cigar lounges on Calle Ocho, it’s worth heading West to enjoy this favorite Cuban restaurant destination. Great prices, as you enjoy Cuban coffee, breakfast, lunch, supper, or some Cuban pastries.