Austin cigar shop, a Sixth Street fixture, closing doors as owner blasts city

9:36 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 Austin360 Home

Citing what he calls the “deteriorating situation and terrible neglect by the City of Austin on ‘Dirty Sixth Street,’” the owner of Bobalu Cigar Company announced Tuesday that the store is closing the doors at its original location for good.

“Things are really bad on Sixth Street, and we hung in there much longer than we should have because I NEVER wanted to close it,” Jeff Lipton said in an email statement, adding that he thinks the city doesn’t care about tenants.

Lipton said that though the cigar shop is shutting down its downtown Austin store after more than 20 years, Bobalu will live on at its larger factory location on Burnet Road. The Sixth Street store is set to close in late January.

PHOTOS: Handmade cigars at Bobalu Cigar Co. in Austin

Lipton also posted a longer statement on Bobalu’s website, in which he said the city has focused on developing Second Street, the Warehouse District, West Sixth Street, Rainey Street and “just about every other area of downtown” while neglecting East Sixth Street businesses.

“Now they should call it ‘Filthy Sixth’ because the area has actually become a very dangerous place riddled with homeless people, crime and waste,” Lipton said. “It’s the last place that anybody from out of town would want to visit.”

The stretch of seven blocks known as “Dirty Sixth” is barricaded and patrolled by about 35 officers on an average Friday night, the American-Statesman reported in June.