A longstanding tradition, the hookah is a water pipe that is used to smoke flavored or sweetened tobacco. The “hookah pipe houses separate chambers for the tobacco and water, and has multiple tubing stems from which users inhale the tobacco smoke. Hookah tobacco is often flavored with molasses, fruit pulp or honey and has additional flavor added.” Many bars in Pittsburgh have adopted the widely growing trend of hookah, and here are five that you can check out.
Opened by two entrepreneurial-minded college bros, Mint Hookah Bar and Lounge operates with the student in mind. On Monday through Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., any college student with proper ID can enjoy a study happy hour and a signature Mint hookah for $9.99. On weekends, a DJ spins tunes and BYOB service is offered to anyone 21+, with proper state ID, of course. Gold and platinum VIP cards are available for those who dare extend the life of their bowl (or avoid the corkage fee), and belly dancers entertain nightly.
Sphinx Cafe is an old 19th-century church redone in rich fabrics and Egyptian paintings, with luxurious cushions along the walls. And for an extra dollar, patrons can sit upstairs in the VIP room – have you died and gone to a long-forgotten Pharaoh’s palace? Sphinx Cafe is not a royal court, but you’ll feel like a king when you enjoy your sweetly-scented hookah, delicious menu items and specialty drinks. In addition to a full-service hookah bar, Sphinx also boasts a large array of hookahs and accessories for personal hookahs and smoking pipe tobacco.
A slightly more informal hookah destination, Hookah Bookah only had one thing in mind – offering its patrons the best smoke in the most enjoyable atmosphere. Casual snacks and drinks are available for purchase, and the cafe is open until at least 1 a.m. (2 a.m. on weekends) for those craving a savory puff after studying or leaving work for the night. Bookah’s rampant Facebook fans have gone as far as to say that the lounge has the “best shisha [tobacco] in the world [sic],” so try it for yourself and see what all the hype is about.
Fairly new to Bloomfield, Heavenly Hookah Lounge is a BYOB-friendly establishment (that even encourages ordering your own outside food). The quality of the hookah and flavors is excellent, with a variety of tropical, cool flavors, like blueberry, mango and pomegranate. Go for a smoke and a fun vibe, but do not visit for atmosphere or anything resembling sustenance. This hookah lounge is as bare-bones as you’re going to get.
Reasonably priced and exotic Mediterranean fare with a cool atmosphere makes for another Lawrenceville hit restaurant. Obviously this is a ‘best hookah’ list, but it’s worth mentioning that not only does this establishment have a fine assortment of tobaccos and pipes, but it also boasts to-die-for spinach and feta pies, falafel and lentil soup. The metaphorical cherry is its outstanding customer service and knowledgeable, affable staff.
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