TAMPA — International Plaza’s Bay Street is about to get a touch of historic Ybor City.
Local institution, King Corona Cigars, is opening a second location in the outdoor restaurant area of the mall. And yes, says owner Justin Jacobson, you will be able to smoke inside.
But the bar won’t be copy of its historic predecessor.
“We’re going for a different feel,” Jacobson said. “Ybor is so unique. It’s hard to capture and bottle that.”
Jacobson took over the family-run cigar bar in 2017 from Brenda Barco and her now late husband, Don. Jacobson became a regular who dreamed of owning the place himself one day. That happened when the couple retired, ending a family tradition spanning five generations.
Jacobson has kept the Ybor spot’s grit, but said the new location will be more posh to match the other offerings on Bay Street. There will be no food, but a focus on liquor, coffee and, of course, cigars.
There will also be a selection of cigars from other Ybor City shops, Jacobson said.
The new cigar bar is still in its early stages. It’s taking over the space left behind by sushi bar Zen Bistro. Jacobson said the smaller footprint — 2,100 square feet — works well for his lounge because he doesn’t need a kitchen.
The mall first approached him about opening there earlier this year, he said. He just started filing for permits with the city at the end of October.
He plans to have the new bar open in early 2020.