Fostering Community: Hops & Habanas
by Garrad Lee
Since December 2014, Hops & Habanas has provided Fondren with the neighborhood’s largest selection of craft beers, cigars, and cigar accessories.
The location was the second for owners Rick and Trayce Miles, but after the closing of the flagship Madison store in February 2017, the focus has been solely on Fondren.
“Being the only store is fun,” says event coordinator Jessica Noxolo, better known around the neighborhood as her stage name, SIKA. “The store grows more and more every season and so do the ideas and creations, like the artwork we just added out back as a stage backdrop. We’re now more involved in the community, focusing on one location.”
First and foremost for Hops & Habanas is their proclivity for beer and cigars. The shop thrives on introducing its customers to new products and never allows itself to remain stagnant.
“Nothing stays the same at Hops,” SIKA says. “We rotate our 24 taps, almost weekly, sometimes every few days depending on the demand for certain beers that may be limited or one time only.” Because of this, Hops & Habanas customers learn a lot about new craft beers, especially from Mississippi, Louisiana and other surrounding states, helping to foster that sense of regional community the craft movement thrives on.
Hops & Habanas provides more than just a place to grab a beer and a cigar. SIKA points out that Hops is a space to foster community, whether you want to sit at the bar, hang out on the front patio, or spend time in the cabana space out back.
Owner Rick Miles is proud of the impression the shop leaves on customers. “We are quite proud of our very unique entertainment environment,” he says. “The cabana area and stage just floors people when they come out for the first time.”
Hops & Habanas has become a popular venue in Fondren for live events, including Fondren After 5 on the first Thursday of every month.
The shop hosts a bottle share on the last Thursday of every month, featuring “hard to find and hard to get beers from all over the world.”
Every final Saturday is Audience Control, a music showcase complete with judges and audience feedback.
And, on any given night, it is not surprising to walk out back and hear music from an array of genres and even comedy shows, contemporary dance performances and everything in between.
Recently, Hops began selling food, with burgers, wraps, wings, and more, making it a one-stop venue in the heart of Fondren.
For more information visit hopsandhabanas.com and follow Hops and Habanas on Facebook.