An innocuous bar in Gerritsen Beach transformed into a Saturday night hotspot as local cigar shop Refugio’s unveiled its newest line of cigars at a joint launch party with the magazine, Mob Candy.
Jimmy Brigandino, Refugio’s manager, took some time to describe the Mob Candy cigar, which was being hand-rolled by a Refugio’s employee and served to the guests at the Brooklyn Amici Café.
“The Mob Candy Torpedo, it’s a Dominican filler and binder with a Connecticut leaf, so it’s a mild type of cigar,” said Brigandino. “The leaf itself is glued down with a wine-infused glue which gives it a little bit of that background taste of sweetness.
“It’s easy on the pocket and everybody can enjoy the smoke. Between the Mob Candy magazine and Refugio’s with Mob Candy cigars, we got the word out there and this is part of the promotion for that.”
The cigar will be available exclusively through the Mob Candy website, and in-person at Refugio’s, in bundles of five, ten, and twenty-four for $7-8 per stick.
Mob Candy is a lifestyle magazine with content related to “Mafia Politics, Pleasure, and Power.” It includes features on well-known gangsters such as the Gambino Crime Family and Meyer Lansky, as well as men’s suits advertisements, nightclub reviews, and lingerie models. Issues are also sold at Refugio’s.
Frank DiMatteo, the magazine’s publisher and a former player in organized crime families in Brooklyn and New Jersey, organized the event, calling on friends from all walks of life, including actors and musicians.
“In five years of [publishing] Mob Candy, we’ve got a big list of people, everyone likes Mob Candy,” said DiMatteo, who’s been publishing the magazine since 2007. “They come out, they mingle, they spend a couple dollars on drinks, we get food out, we got raffles, we got some music, we’ll take some pictures, it’s all cool. I call it a reason to get together. It’s nice running a magazine, you get to meet people you don’t meet normally.”
The party itself was a scene to behold. As “international” DJ Ill spun an interesting mix that included techno “mash-ups” of Neil Diamond, the Four Tops, and various disco artists, guests mingled, wrapping friends in bear hugs, taking shots of vodka at the bar, or enjoying a spread that included fried ravioli, meatballs, and mozzarella sticks. It was difficult to identify which guests were business or personal acquaintances of DiMatteo’s—one guest, when asked his name by an inquisitive older woman, responded definitively, “I’m nobody”—but friends and strangers got on together as if they knew each other for years.
As rain fell intermittently throughout the evening, guests took refuge under two tent canopies in front of the bar, taking pulls from their torpedo cigars and posing for pictures in front of a Mob Candy backdrop. The cigars earned rave reviews from partygoers, as many would congregate in groups outside, interrupting each other’s conversations with effusive praise for the stogies. One guest said that while he usually buys his cigars near his home in New Jersey, he planned on buying a pack of the Mob Candy Torpedoes.
Even the more casual cigar smokers like actor Artie Pasquale, who has appeared in several episodes of The Sopranos and movies like American Gangster.
“I’m one of those guys, that on certain occasions I’ll have a cigar, but this is very nice, very mild,” he said as he puffed his Mob Candy cigar. “I know Frankie, and I try to support what they’re doing, they’re good guys.”
Refugio’s is located at 635 Lorimer Street. For more on the magazine, visit www.mobcandymag.com.
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