Tuscaloosa's premier cigar shop and liquor bar is expanding across the Black Warrior River as R&R Cigars prepares to open a Northport location off McFarland Boulevard and Watermelon Road.

Reagan Starner, the owner of downtown Tuscaloosa's famous Cigar Mansion, said he's been looking to open a second location practically since R&R first opened in 2012.

Starner said he hopes to open the new shop in the Essex Square shopping center anchored by Winn Dixie by the end of next week on Black Friday. He said the Northport location will aim to feel "like a room at the Cigar Mansion," with one major exception -- the inclusion of a fully stocked, 14-foot bar where Starner can finally show off the extensive and exclusive collection of spirits he's quietly built at R&R over the last several years.

"We're planning on offering 16 draft beers and over 200 different liquor drinks," Starner said. "We have one of the best liquor selections in town, but at the Mansion, you can't see all the alcohol we actually have available. In Northport, it's all going to be on display and there will be no doubt in anybody's mind about who offers the most diverse selection of alcohol -- it's R&R."

Starner said Northport is seriously underserved by its lack of bars and cigar stores alike, and his expansion into that market will offer R&R's existing customers there a place to shop, smoke and drink that's a little closer to home.

"It was important for us to be across the river because it allows us an opportunity to be closer to our customers who live there without the long commute to downtown," Starner said. "This gives us a chance to provide the same level of service they've grown accustomed to at the Mansion at a place more convenient for a lot of them."

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Starner had nothing but praise for the customers of R&R Cigars, who have kept the small business afloat through never-ending road construction, a global pandemic and more.

"I've had so many people tell me they're praying for me, which I think has probably been the biggest help out of anything, so many people have been coming in, so many people have been ordering from all over the country supporting R&R through this time," Starner said. "Our customers have been great, and we're so grateful to them for that."

Northport Mayor Bobby Herndon, who won re-election to that office last month, said he can't wait to welcome R&R to the city.

"We're always happy to see new businesses come to Northport," Herndon said. "I've known Reagan and his dad for a long time and their new shop is going to be a great addition to our city."

"Hopefully, they'll generate a lot of tax revenue," Herndon added, laughing.

The new location, which Starner said will seat around 20 total people inside, should see its cigar store open at 46 McFarland Boulevard next Friday.

A public hearing to approve their liquor license is scheduled for the first week of December, so the launch of their extensive bar should follow shortly after.

After opening, Starner said he plans to operate in Northport from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and to be closed on Sundays.

For real-time updates, follow R&R Cigars on the social platform of your choice -- Starner said he plans to post progress reports on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.