(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 8, 2017)
Auburn Hills, MI – Viktor Paljusaj has a clear and smoky dream, in spite of an unclear future for the area around The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Paljusaj has purchased the former Ciccarelli’s Sports Bar at 3880 Lapeer Road and has already begun operating Clubhouse 81, a sports bar and restaurant, on the ground floor. On Monday Auburn Hills City Council voted unanimously to accept an out-of-city cigar license to allow him to open The Loft Cigar Room on the upper floor.
“This is one of the toughest decisions in my life, especially since the Palace is leaving town,” Paljusaj said. “For us to survive at that location, it has to be a destination spot. It has to be something nobody else has.”
The Loft Cigar Room license was purchased from Grand Ledge. State law allows Paljusaj to use the Grand Ledge license in Auburn Hills, however a local ordinance prevented it.
The City declined the license per the ordinance, but allowed Paljusaj to appeal.
Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel had personally gone to Clubhouse 81 to check out the renovations and hear about Paljusaj’s plans. “I know he’s spent a lot of money already,” McDaniel said. He said opening a cigar bar could mean people are “not traveling so far South down Woodward” to enjoy a cigar bar experience.
McDaniel was also impressed that the restaurant and cigar lounge would be open knowing that the Palace would be not be remaining. “His plan is making it a destination 360 nights a year,” the Mayor said.
Paljusaj operates several bars in Metro Detroit, including 24th Street Tavern in Oxford. This gave council confidence. “24th Street Taven in Oxford has a great menu, great staff,” said Councilperson Cheryl Verbeke. “You do such a great job there.”
The Loft Cigar Room will be equipped with a “top of the line, $70,000 ventilation system,” Paljusaj said. “Believe me guys, I don’t want it downstairs where I serve my food.” The Loft will only feature cigars. Cigarettes and hookahs are not permitted.
With Council’s approval to accept the Grand Ledge license, Paljusaj said it should be 60-90 days before the grand opening.
For more information about The Loft Cigar Room visit http://clubhouse81.com/.
For more on the City of Auburn Hills visit http://www.auburnhills.org/.