Havana Martini Bar is closing - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Havana Martini Bar is closing

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - This Saturday, June 12, is "last call" at a popular nightclub in downtown Cincinnati. The Havana Martini Club will close its doors for good.

The hot spot took a huge hit when the State of Ohio enacted its smoking ban. The club was known for it's cool Latin music and the strong support of the Latin community.

But when the state put the kibosh on it's cache, a humidor of Cuban cigars, it didn't take long for a business built around being allowed to smoke, to get snuffed-out in the wake of "smoke-free" Ohio.

The club's owner Sandy Meier spent upwards of 100-grand, transforming a former retail space into this upscale martini and cigar bar. She also spent a bundle on state-of-the-art smoke-eaters to help keep the air clear.

There were free salsa lessons and once the ban went into effect, the club even dropped cover charges, hoping to keep attracting business.

But it was not enough. Soon, the new tenant, The Penguin, which is a dueling piano bar, will be making music in the space once again.

"Unfortunately once the state moved forward on the non-smoking law that practically destroyed her business," said Meier's leading agent, Judie Guttadauro, Vice President at Realty Network Plus, Inc. "My space, the Havana space that I am putting The Penguin in, is exceptional. It's embraced by two hotels, it's two and a half blocks from the convention center it's directly across the street from Fountain Square and everyone loves it."

The Penguin is a chain of piano bars, based in Louisville, KY. Guttadauro said The Penguin will be doing a total reconstruction and modify the space to meet their brand.

Luckily, thanks to the Havana Martini Club, the infrastructure is solid.

Guttadauro called her client, Sandy Meier who leases the space for just a few more days, but Meier was tied-up in a dinner meeting and was unavailable for an interview with FOX19.

Guttadauro couldn't say what Meier has up her sleeve next, but said you can be sure it will be something exciting. 

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