Ready to Smoke: Bayou City Cigars

There’s never a dull moment in the Houston cigar community. So when I spoke to Daryl Pretlow about his new cigar lounge, Bayou City Cigars; I suppose it was naive of me to assume there wasn’t some juicy back story.

Houston is a big city full of people who want to do big things, but not everyone is built to make the big moves. Case in point, before Daryl took over his current location on 1602 San Jacinto, he originally bought McCoy’s Fine Cigars in Downtown Houston.

The McCoy’s Fine Cigars Debacle

Daryl along with a silent investor purchased the downtown location of McCoy’s Fine Cigars from Brad (original owner) and took over operations on March 1st, 2020; at which point Brad was completely out of the picture.

Considering how 2020 went, March 1st was probably the worst time to purchase a new business, but Daryl has a strong network of cigar enthusiasts in Houston dating back to 1994; so he was able to make it work. In fact, it was working so well that the silence grew too loud for Daryl’s “silent investor” who decided to take on a more active role in the operation.

This was in direct contradiction of the original agreement where Daryl would handle operations and deliver repayment as promised. This is a pretty typical arrangement, but when people get out of their lanes it usually doesn’t end well.

Initially, not part of the operation at all, once the heavy lifting was done by Daryl the silent investor wanted to become an active member of the operation. Actually, he wanted to be ‘the operation’ and worked overtime to boot Daryl out of his own deal.

Big moves by little minds never cease to amuse.

A costly legal battle ensued and while pride could have motivated Daryl to fight back hard, he quickly realized the cost vs reward benefit was not worth the headache or the effort. After all, having his own cigar shop was Daryl’s retirement plan, not a legal battle potentially lasting years and costing thousands of dollars.

So Daryl made the shrewd move of conceding the smaller battle to win the bigger war. Walking away from the McCoy’s project freed Daryl to pursue his original goal which was to have his own cigar shop, and that’s exactly what he did.

Unfortunately for McCoy’s and its new owner however, Daryl also took his 25+ years of cigar smoking experience, relationships and goodwill with him, leaving behind a novice owner to figure out a business he knows little about.

I guess we all could wish this person well, but not really.

Bayou City Cigars

After looking at 3 – 4 locations around Downtown Houston, Daryl settled on 1602 San Jacinto due to its easy access to Midtown, the Medical Center and Downtown. It also offers 40+ free parking spots which is worth the price of a cigar unto itself.

Back in 2018 I got my car towed when I went to McCoy’s because the cut off for street parking was 4 pm, vs 5 pm. Who knew? (shrug emoji)

Daryl’s new lounge will offer 1800 sq. ft. of indoor smoking space, a covered patio and a 16 x 16 humidor. He’ll carry all of the great cigars from Rocky Patel, Henry Clay, La Gloria Cubana and Drew Estate to name a few.

As time progresses, he will add additional cigars to the humidor based on customer preference and availability.

Bayou City Cigars will have a soft opening on March 11, 2021 from 5 pm to 10 pm. Check it out and don’t forget to tag them to #houstoncigarlife.