Cigar Lounge relocating to Tap House


By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

After five years selling cigars on Main Hill, Jim Apovian is relocating his Bridgton business to the second floor of the Depot Street Tap House. The Bridgton Planning Board okayed the use at its Tuesday meeting.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Apovian said the main reason he’s moving is because the historic William Perry House, which once served as the town’s hospital, is up for sale by its owner Steve Stevens. But the move also makes good business sense, he added, “with rejuvenation of Depot Street, the great success of the Tap House, and the ever-growing popularity of Vivo’s Country Italian Kitchen and Bar” next door.

Apovian said his William Perry Cigar Lounge has “enjoyed a great five years” in the elegant atmosphere inside the main portion of Stevens’ property, which also houses an antiques emporium in the barn, a psychologist’s office in back and a wine seller, Tasteful Things, upstairs.

“The customers and I have become dear friends.” Apovian said he and his wife Kristin have also become great friends with Stevens, who was a great help when he was first looking for a place to locate his business in Bridgton after spending the previous five years vacationing on Long Lake.

“Steve and Sharyn Stevens have become more than just a landlord. They have become family to me,” Apovian said. “They have been extremely supportive of my business, and I will always be extremely grateful to Steve for giving me my opportunity when no one else would five years ago.”

The vacant second floor above the Tap House will be completely renovated by building owner Carrye Castleman-Ross, who owns the 18B Depot Street building and Tap House business with partner Eric LaPerna. At 864 square feet, there will be less space for Apovian’s cigar sales and lounge than at the William Perry House, but he doesn’t see that as an issue.

“We are thrilled that he wants to relocate his cigar lounge to the newly-thriving Depot Street business district, and believe it will be a good fit for him,” said Castleman-Ross. She told the Planning Board Tuesday that she wants to provide a proper sign for Apovian’s cigar lounge, which will be served by a separate outside entrance from the Tap House.

The property abuts Corn Shop Brook and is in the Shoreland Zone, where signage is limited to six square feet. Her own sign currently is that large, but under the town’s shoreland rules a building can have up to two signs. She said she’ll discuss the signage changes with Code Enforcement Officer Robbie Baker.

Apovian will continue offering high-end cigars from countries like Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Costa Rica. “There will be no alcohol of any kind served on the premises, as well as no food prepared or served,” he wrote in his proposal. There will be no live entertainment, other than a TV for the occasional sports show, in the lounge, which will be able to accommodate up to 25 people.

Asked by board member Phyllis Roth about cigar smells permeating to either the Tap House or to the outside, Apovian said that won’t happen, because he will bring along the two filtering systems he used at the William Perry Cigar Lounge, which proved effective at keeping the smell of cigars to an absolute minimum.

“I like the smell of cigars,” said Board member Dee Miller. Apovian said his customers occasionally enjoyed their cigars outside in the gazebo at the Main Hill property, but there won’t be an outside deck or any outside cigar-smoking at the Depot Street location, he said.

Apovian said he expects his business will thrive in its “busier, smaller” location on Depot Street.

“I would also like to thank Bridgton for believing in me five years ago and giving a new type of business a shot. The support of the town through the years has been great, and I look forward to another great five years.”


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