Hookah is kind of like smoking a bong, but with tobacco instead of pot (or in some cases, just tobacco-free, flavored herbs). You can get a little buzzed smoking it, but don't worry, Mom, it's not illegal. The hookah itself is usually glass with multiple flexible stems (everyone gets their own - and it comes with a disposable mouth cover for hygiene purposes). Often smoking is the centerpiece of activity at a lounge/nightclub that attracts a lot of young people of Middle-Eastern decent and/or hipsters. There's usually contemporary and Middle Eastern music, think lounge-y, more than clubb-y. And somehow backgammon usually follows. Needless to say, this is not MOST Lehigh Valleyans idea of a fun time (yet). But for those people who:
a) don't feel like wilin' out to Livin' on a Prayer for the 900th time at MacGrady's
b) can picture you and your friends hanging out on pillows, talking without screaming over music or the blaring distracting of the Phillies gamec) can get a sitter - (this is not a family activity)
and d) are down with a little variety in your cultural diet and don't mind the smell of fruit-flavored smoke
... this is for you.
The ones I went to in DC (Chi-Cha Lounge and... shoot, I can't remember the name of the other one, I am sure it's closed now, but it was in the Foggy Bottom area... pretty far west on K Street I think, somewhere in the 30's) served yummy, authentic food, tea and coffee, and it was cozy and low-key. I say: Gentlemen, bravo. You have the pleasure of educating the area locals on hookah and have committed to running businesses in urban neighborhoods, and I wish you the best of luck!
- Gardenia Hookah (760 Hanover Avenue, Allentown) - go to Dragon Palace on Airport Road before for a bite to eat.
- Bliss Hookah (209 Union St, Allentown) - go to Aci Halal (34 N 2nd Street, Allentown) for dinner before - trust me. Tasty Turkish food!
- Sultana Hookah Lounge (3 E 3rd Street, Bethlehem) - on the corner of New Street and 3rd Street, where the Fahy Bridge meets 3rd, across from Tallarico's Chocolates and Glen Anthony Designs. Dinner at 23 East Asian Bistro, or General Zapata's, or the trendy new Horns!
- Hookah Turka (44 W.Broad St., Bethlehem) - where the candy store was, on the same block as the (closed) Boyd movie theater. Dinner anywhere on Main Street. Have you been to the new Italian place, Molto Pazzo, at 553 Main Street?