RACINE — If you want a good cigar, $180 bottle of Dom Perignon champagne or flavored hookah tobacco, Ayra’s Liquor & Cigar has them all and much more.
Ayra’s opened late last year inside the former Hollywood Video store at 4700 Washington Ave. It’s off to a great start, said owner-developer Akil Ajmeri of Caledonia, owner of several other Racine-area retail businesses.
The 4,800-square-foot store contains some unusual elements and products, including a large, walk-in humidor, a cooler next to the front counter offering snack cheeses and sausage, hookahs and flavored smoking blends. The store includes 14 cooler doors’ worth of beers including at least 10 doors of craft beers. In the near future, Ayra’s will also offer a craft beer from India.
Here are some other unusual features and products found at Ayra’s Liquor & Cigar — which is named for Ajmeri’s oldest daughter.
How much for that bottle?
One noteworthy display is the back-lit section on one wall displaying the store’s most-expensive wines and champagnes. Some examples:
• A 2003 Dom Perignon champagne for $180.
• Silver Oak Napa cabernet, $95.
• A 2011 Far Niente cabernet, $108.60.
Not all the wines in that display are quite so pricey. For example, there’s a 1.5-liter 2009 Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre, rated 90 by Wine Spectator, for $42.
Speaking of expensive, behind the front counter is the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Scotch whiskey, at $200 a bottle.
A good cigar
Ajmeri said he wanted this store to feature cigars in an extraordinary way, so Ayra’s also features a 16-by-16-foot walk-in humidor. He said cigar sales so far comprise about 30 percent of total sales.
“I order more every single week,” Ajmeri remarked.
The humidor, a cedar room controlled for temperature and humidity, offers 150 to 200 kinds of cigars, with more types on the way.
One example is the Rocky Patel Vintage, a 6-inch $10 cigar aged for 12 years. It’s described as a mild- to medium-body cigar with black cherry flavor and a “wine note.”
Hooked on hookahs
One wall of the humidor is devoted to hookahs, the moist, flavored tobaccos and herbal blends smoked in them and instant-light charcoal pellets.
The 20 smokable flavors include Wild Mango, Black Martini and vanilla.
For more information about Ayra’s Liquor & Cigar, call (262) 633-7602.