Broadway newcomer sees positives for cigar lounge and bar business in 'incubator' district

Prohibition Spirits & Cigar Lounge, formerly known as Titletown Tobacco in Allouez, is now open in Green Bay's Broadway District. (WLUK/Bill Miston)

For six years, Titletown Tobacco called a small storefront in Allouez home. Now, 159 N. Broadway is home - at least will be, eventually, for owner Glen Sherman.

"It's still 'the new place,' and probably will still be for a while," said Sherman, who is in the business venture with two partners, Rob Gille and Luke Russell.

Build out on the Prohibition Spirits and Cigar Lounge space began in March. The previously named Titletown Tobacco moved from Greene Ave. in Allouez this year and opened late last month.

It now features retail space, walk-in humidor and public lounge, private event space, members only area upstairs and a partitioned no-smoking bar open to the public. Special events include cigar dinners, alcohol pairings, live music and corporate events.

"I think it's even becoming an even better experience than we envisioned," said Sherman as the business was able to expand, in part because of the lounge's grandfather clause, allowing patrons to light up indoors, despite the state's smoking ban.

Sherman says operating a bar, that features only top-shelf spirits and craft beers, is a departure from what he knows best as he doesn't drink. But he says the response from the public - and members alike - has been positive since opening late last month.

"We've found a lot of people are enjoying what we do. People from all walks are coming in and really like - not just the fact that they can smoke a cigar or a pipe, but the relaxed atmosphere, the space, you're not crammed in."

In an environment - the Broadway District - that has and will see more changes.

Sherman says even as the announcement of Hinterland Brewery, a long-time anchor of the Broadway District, is moving out of the district to the recently announced Titletown District, he says it's an exciting opportunity for his business, being in what he calls an incubator in the city.

"It's amazing to see, after 20 years now, Broadway is actually becoming a cultivator of a business - to me it's an encouraging sign to see them outgrow an area. That means this area cultivated and helped create what they've become."

Hinterland's old space isn't expected to be empty for long, once the new brewery tentatively opens in spring 2017. An Appleton-based coffee shop and roasting group is set to expand into the beer business and take over Hinterland's space.

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