BETTER WITH AGESeven years since opening The Humidor Room, owner Said Morshedi is still having the time of his life
Written by Emily Sparcino
Photos by Dawn Harrison
People told Saeid Morshedi he was crazy when he floated the idea of opening a cigar and Scotch business nearly seven years ago.
“People didn’t think it would work,” he said. “It turned out to be one of the best ideas in the world.”
For years, Morshedi, 35, had dabbled in different business ventures, from gas stations to construction to selling cars to computer work. He wanted to try something new, something for which he had a passion.
“I had a passion for cigars and Scotch,” Morshedi said.
But he also wanted to create a place reminiscent of an old cigar shop he once visited in Europe as a teenager – an aesthetically pleasing yet comfortable room where someone could relax with a nice cigar in the company of like-minded friends and strangers alike.
Morshedi opened the first location of The Humidor Room Cigar & Scotch Bar about seven years ago in a 1,400-square-foot space off U.S. 280 in the Greystone area. In the summer of 2016, its success––and Morshedi’s desire to expand––prompted him to move to the current space, about a mile down the road, near Aqua Systems of Birmingham.
“I outgrew the place in one year,” Morshedi said of the initial location, adding the second location features an outdoor patio and plenty of convenient parking. “Everybody calls it like ‘Cheers.’ Everybody knows everybody. It’s a very diverse crowd – every diversity, every culture, every background.”
Morshedi said he wants patrons to view it as a place to unwind and take part in casual conversation.
“If you don’t know somebody when you come in, you will when you leave,” he said. “Three rules: We don’t watch the news, we don’t talk about religion and we don’t discuss politics. You get that enough out there as it is.”
Creating a friendly atmosphere was high on Morshedi’s list of priorities for his shop, and it seems to have worked.
In customer Aaron Causey’s words, the clientele of The Humidor Room are “just a bunch of cigar enthusiasts.”
“Everyone knows everyone,” Causey said. “This is my place to come out, hang out and de-stress.”
The Humidor Room was the first place Causey took his friend to when he moved to the area from Washington, D.C.
“I actually call this place my man cave,” Causey said. “This is where I go to escape everything. It doesn’t matter what walk of life you come from, everyone sits down and hangs out. No strangers here.”
An at-home, friendly atmosphere is exactly what Morshedi wanted to offer to everyone who walks into The Humidor Room.
“These are not customers anymore,” Morshedi said. “These are family.”
Along with the camaraderie, Morshedi strives to offer his customers high-quality cigars from countries such as Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Honduras.
“He’s concerned more about the quality than anything else,” Causey said.
According to Morshedi, certain cigars can take up to 10 years, or more, to be ready for consumers, similar to wine in the aging process.
“Some wrappers on cigars could be 20 years old,” he said.
He was also quick to note the correct way to enjoy a cigar: “You don’t inhale them. You enjoy the aroma and the taste.”
Morshedi sells various types of cigars, including mild, medium and full-bodied, individually and by the box. Customers can pair cigars with different kinds of Scotch and adult beverages. And the shop isn’t just for men, Morshedi said. Women frequent The Humidor Room, too. It also has been the site of marriage proposals, post-wedding celebrations and other special events.
“It’s fun,” Morshedi said. “You never work if you have fun. If it’s something you love and something you believe in, you never work at all.”
But Morshedi has indeed worked hard to make his dream become more than just smoke and mirrors. Morshedi is originally from Iran and has lived in Birmingham since he was 12 years old. Over the years, he has developed an appreciation for Birmingham’s history in the metal industry, and has incorporated elements of it into his Humidor Room décor.
“I love the culture of Birmingham, Alabama,” he said. “I brought the culture here. This is my home. I love Alabama.”
Morshedi graduated from Pelham High School in 2000. He has been working since age 13, had his first business by age 19 and started The Humidor Room on his own in his late 20s.
“It shows you can do things,” he said. “I went from nothing to where I am now.”
The Humidor Room is open Monday-Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sunday, 1-8 p.m.
“As long as people are hanging out, we’re always here,” Morshedi said. “They can all smoke cigars, and we can all hang out together. They’re happy, we’re happy, everybody’s happy. We’re a family here.”
The Humidor Room Cigar & Scotch Bar is located at 5511 U.S. 280 Suite 101. For more information, visit Humidorroom280.com.