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Site of planned deck outside Tallahassee's Governors Club. (Photo: Google Street View)


Yes, Virginia, there will be a cigar porch at the Governors Club

Fret not, cigar loving members of the Governors Club: The ‘front porch’ is still in the works.

Despite years of delays, an outdoor deck in front of the private club at Adams Street and College Avenue “is still a go,” said general manager Barry Shields.

governors clubThe deck, which will hold 10 to 12 outdoor tables under the existing magnolia tree, had been hung up in permitting with the city of Tallahassee.

“At this point, I’m still hoping that we’ll have it ready to go by the first day of session,” Shields said. The 2017 Legislative Session begins March 7.

It’s been two years since a smoke-free happy hour was instituted in the club’s first-floor lounge, which had been beset with clouds of offending stogie smoke that sent some patrons fleeing. Smoking is prohibited in the club, except on the second-floor balcony, which hosts occasional cigar dinners, and in the lounge after 7 p.m.

The 34-year-old Governors Club has long been a refuge for lawyers, lobbyists and lawmakers, especially during committee weeks and legislative sessions. The house rules generally forbid members of the press from entering and its membership list is a secret, though the club recently disclosed it has 1,050 members.

The building, at 202-1/2 S. Adams St., was built in 1926 to be a Masonic Lodge, according to its website. After a time it became an Odd Fellows hall, and Governors Club later took possession of the building. It opened in 1982, where it has been continuously operating since.

In the club’s December newsletter, Shields noted the club was “successful in extending our lease with the Odd Fellows for an additional 20 years, through 2051. It’s good to know that our building is secure for the next 35 years.”

At the same time, he said in an interview he “never dreamt a deck would take two and a half years to build.”


Written By

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at

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