When we asked our readers about their favorite place to smoke in San Diego, many responded with Captain Hunt Tobacconist. Located in the popular Seaport Village area, it’s easy to see why this tobacconist catches the attention of so many cigar enthusiasts. Ask Harry Hunt, owner of Captain Hunt Tobacconist, what he thinks puts his shop on the radar of people across the country and he simply points outside his door to the gorgeous view of the San Diego Bay.
Much of the store and lounge’s success is attributed to its location. Harry Hunt, the store’s owner, tells the story of an occasion when a Macanudo representative visited his store for the first time: “The guy gets off the bus, immediately calls his boss out east, and says to him, ‘I’ve been on this bus for nine months. I’ve never been in a location like this.’ As he’s getting off the bus there were four helicopters flying down the bay, two aircraft carriers parking around the corner, and all the people walking by. It’s a unique location.” He also tells the story of a captain from the Coast Guard commenting that after all the countries and hundreds of cigar shops he’d visited in his tour of duty, none of them had a view like that of Captain Hunt Tobacconist.
The store is open every day of the year and only closes early on Thanksgiving evening and Christmas Eve. Hunt says that though Seaport Village allows his store to close at 6 p.m. each day, he usually extends hours because a lot of traffic comes in during the evening hours. With anywhere from 12 million to 20 million people walking through Seaport Village each year, it’s easy to see why Hunt wouldn’t mind extending hours to ensure anyone who’s looking for a great cigar and comfortable place to smoke can find it in his store.
The new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations do threaten Captain Hunt Tobacconist, and Hunt definitely has a lot to say about it. “I think it’s ridiculous. I think they’re trying to run us out of business. I’m not a happy camper. I don’t know if the lawsuits are going to slow this down, and I don’t think the FDA has enough manpower to regulate this. It’s really throwing the handcuffs on the entire industry. I don’t sell to anyone under 21. It’s an adult business where people decide whether they want to do it or not. All I’m doing is providing a service. It’s really a sad day for the cigar industry.”
Hunt isn’t letting the FDA or the possibility of Seaport Village being redeveloped scare him into shutting his doors. For now he plans to stay the course and look into ways to keep Captain Hunt Tobacconist a part of his family’s legacy and let his kids run the business in the future. For now, Captain Hunt Tobacconist is open for business with a great view, and Hunt hopes you’ll join him for a smoke in his lounge while taking in a great view of the San Diego Bay.
CAPTAIN HUNT TOBACCONIST
851 W. Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101