By Fat Hand
Stopping into Macabi’s Cigar Bar on Las Olas for an after-dinner drink on a recent weekend evening, your blogger had an interesting time. Macabi’s Cigar Bar is a relatively small but nice establishment with a bar on the right and a large case of cigars lining the full length of the room on the left (plus a full liquor store adjacent to the bar). An interesting mix of patrons were at the bar this evening including, for you single ladies, a smart and attractive bachelor orthopedist named Brian that volunteered months of his time in Haiti immediately after the earthquake. But this post isn’t just about good-looking, rich heroes or the wide variety of cigars, wine, and beer available at Macabi’s Cigars. It’s about the crazy proprietor Pat Patel.
Pat is nothing if not sociable. Exceedingly talkative to his guests and quite full of himself and his nice bar, at one point he bragged about winning a NewTimes Best Of award. Not surprised, considering the delicious wines and good cigars, I expected to see an award for Best Wine Bar or Best Cigar Bar. But no, the award he chose to show me was a framed NewTimes award from several years ago for Best Bar To Get Yelled At (turns out he has won Best Cigar Bar in other years). A little strange but believable from the salty behavior Pat had exhibited towards his bartender and patrons that evening, plus the stories Pat shared about kicking people out for spilled drinks or whatever other behavior Pat found offensive.
Pat is too interesting to ignore. Not only did he provide us thirsty customers with delicious wines, he broke out a couple of mystery dishes gratis, challenging us to guess what we were eating. An especially ambiguous plate turned out to be chili-spiced mango slices tasting nothing like what one might expect of a mango, but quite good and hot. And when nobody knew what the hell that spicy crunchy dish they were eating might be, Pat ostracised us for our lack of knowledge.
Again, like I said, you cannot stop talking to Pat, partly because he will not stop talking to you. Pat’s nationality is hard to determine. I was pretty sure he is either Turkish or Middle Eastern, but I was wrong; turns out Pat is from Uganda. And then, as Pat was listing the offenses for which one might be ejected from Macabi’s Cigar Bar, he included that being Muslim would earn you that fate. Yes, I don’t know why, nor do I really care, but I will tell you this: Pat does not like Muslims. I was of course surprised by his statement. I even informed Pat I was planning to write a blog post about his bar and that some people would not like that detail. But Pat is Pat and was not to be deterred: “I don’t care, Muslims are not welcome here,” said our outspoken proprieter. Which leaves your blogger in a strange position: I would like to recommend this quirky bar with its good wine, fine cigars, and its beyond-quirky owner. But the FTLC is also a supporter of multiculturalism and, although we appreciate crazy, only to a certain extent. So we recommend you make your own decision. Hate Muslims but love cigars? This is your place. Love cigars and rationality? We cannot fully endorse. Muslim and offended? Pat doesn’t care. That is Macabi’s Cigar Bar.