A new nightlife option coming to Prince George’s Co.

Cigars may not be for everyone, but Prince George’s County, Maryland, residents who do enjoy them either have to smoke them at a home or, if they’re looking to visit a lounge, head to a venue in a neighboring jurisdiction — but not for long.

The Prince George’s County Council voted 11-0 on Tuesday to legalize cigar lounges, which are higher-end establishments that sell expensive cigars and finer types of alcohol. The facilities themselves are equipped with special air filters.

The law will take effect later in July. Eventually, Council member Calvin Hawkins said cigar aficionados “will not have to leave Prince George’s County to go to Charles County, Anne Arundel, Montgomery, or the District of Columbia. Even Northern Virginia,” he explained. “We’re just trying to just change it so we don’t have to leave the area.”

Hawkins said he likes a good cigar and will visit what he calls “nice, luxury places” that operate nearby to smoke a cigar and sip a drink.

“It’s nice,” Hawkins said. “They have nice air purifiers to keep the smoke out. You just sit there with your friends and engage in conversation, watch sports.”

“My colleagues and I see this as an opportunity to further enhance our economic development strategy,” he added.

The one person who testified during a public hearing on Tuesday, Mike Lyles, of Bowie, said that would happen.

“We think that there is a missing economic attractiveness to cigar lounges in Prince George’s County,” said Lyles, who said he does legal work for food and beverage businesses in the area. “There’s investment waiting to come to Prince George’s County.”

Lyles said similar lounges are paying off for small, minority business owners in places like Annapolis.

“We found that it has helped a lot of minority and Black businesses who are in this space to be successful,” said Lyles. “To have the addition of spirits, wine and beer in addition to offering of cigars.”

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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