“It will take at least five years, but downtown Brentwood has the potential to be a destination. It can be a place where you park your car and then spend the entire day and evening here. The lounge is a great place to kick off your night or a place to unwind after a dinner. I believe downtown can flourish and that is why I started my business here – to be a part of that foundation.”
Piacente had aspirations to open a nightclub in Southern California, but after doing some research, he decided Brentwood was the place to set off what he hopes to be a series of lounges. “I wanted to create an atmosphere that’s fun and relaxing, and it’s interesting how a little thing like a cigar can bring people together. People from all walks of life come in here, and they probably wouldn’t have met if they didn’t have the common interest of appreciating cigars.”
Piacente, who isn’t an avid cigar smoker, said the lounge provides a unique atmosphere to the downtown area that can’t be found anywhere else in town. The dimly lit establishment is furnished with plush leather couches and recliners, ideal for kicking up your feet and relaxing in front of one of the plasma televisions.
Justice Ivanich, a regular at 760, comfortably collapses into one of the recliners as he takes in a drag from a fresh-cut cigar. “This is the most relaxing place in Brentwood,” he said. “I’m serious; this place is even more relaxing than my home.”
Larry Wallace agrees. He too is a regular at 760 and rents out a locker on site to store his precious stogies. “This is the place to come and enjoy a cigar and a nice beverage,” Wallace said. “You can sit around among friends and talk sports and politics, or you can kick back and watch the game.”
760 Cigar Lounge is open to the public. No membership is required, and ladies are more than welcome to come in and light up. “This isn’t a boy’s club,” said patron Armand Alford. “Women can indulge in a fine cigar as well. This can be a couple’s hang out.”
To entice women to check out the lounge, Piacente has dubbed Thursdays “Ladies Night” and offers a special brand of cigar designed specifically for women. “There are cigars made for women. They’re smaller, and some come with flavored smoke. Groovy Blue by Tatiana is popular. It has a blend of berries, vanilla and honey.”
Piacente sells more than 50 types of cigars on the premise. He bases his selection on the suggestions of his regulars and sells cigars of the highest quality from Arturo Fuente, Cohiba, Gurkha, Monte Cristo and Rocky Patel. Cigar prices range from $7 to $45.
The lounge is equipped with a heavy-duty ventilation system and air purifiers to limit the amount of smoke that hangs in the room. The building has free Wi-Fi access, which makes it ideal for business meetings.
Piacente attributes his recent success to the addition of his liquor license, which he was convinced to obtain once neighboring restaurant Hiro’s closed down last year. “Things slowed down when Hiro’s closed, and that forced me to make some changes. I think it helps maintain the relaxing atmosphere. We have 14 different beers, microbeers and ales that are more cigar-friendly. We also serve wines from Santa Barbara and the Napa Valley, and soon we’ll have champagne.”
Now that he has established the 760 Lounge, Piacente plans to expand his business effort downtown and open a martini lounge this summer. “I want to create a place where people can go to relax and enjoy a drink. Not everyone wants to go to a bar or a club, but this will be a place for people to come in and have a drink and relax while listening to some jazz.”
Piacente said his goal is to open the yet-to-be-named martini lounge by July – just in time for his 40th birthday. “It will be a present to myself to get this off the ground.”
760 Cigar Lounge, open Tuesday to Thursday from 3 to 9 p.m., Friday from 3 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 2 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m., is located at 613 First St. in Brentwood. For more information, call 925-240-7518 or visit www.760cigarlounge.com.