The number of hookah bars in American cities and college towns has significantly multiplied over the past decade. As one of the world’s most multicultural cities with numerous institutes of higher education, DC is no stranger to this phenomenon.
Dating back to the 1500s, hookah smoking has its origins in the North Western provinces of India. Originally a status symbol for Indian noblemen and the aristocracy, the pastime soon spread westward to Iran and then the Middle East.
A hookah is a water pipe that’s traditionally smoked communally at small get-togethers. Hookahs utilize a special, sticky type of tobacco called shisha, which is flavored with molasses and fruit. Hookahs typically have one or two hoses – but can sometimes have three or four – from which people draw the sweetly flavored smoke.
Shisha flavors are incredibly diverse. Numerous shisha brands — some of the most popular including Starbuzz, Al Nakhla, and Al Fakher — offer anything from fruits (apple, cherry, peach) to candy flavors (chocolate, bubble gum) to alcoholic drinks (passion fruit mojito and sex on the beach)!
Although hookah has been around for centuries, it is still a relatively novel concept to western society. Hookah bars are becoming increasingly popular in America because they enable people to hang out without having alcohol as the primary social lubricant. These locations are also often open late, offering sophisticated alternatives to pubs and clubs, and offer a variety of Middle Eastern food, coffee, tea, and soft drinks. Some hookah bars also have liquor licenses.
*Monday – Thursday: 5 pm-1 am
*Friday – Saturday: 5 pm-2 am
Soussi offers a variety of eclectic Mediterranean food, high quality shisha, quick service, and clean hookahs.
*Sunday – Thursday: 11 am-1 am
*Friday – Saturday: 11 am-4 am
Tarbouch is a top of the line destination. With the smoothest hookahs and delicious flavors around, it also boasts a large outdoor patio and excellent Lebanese food. Plus, it’s open until 4 am on the weekends… a perfect spot to finish a night after clubbing!
*Monday – Thursday: 4 pm-2 am
*Friday: 5 pm-3 am
*Saturday: 6 pm-3 am
*Sunday: 6 pm-2 am
This trendy and cozy venue is known for its smooth hookahs, tasty sushi, strong cocktails, house music, and chill atmosphere.
*Monday – Thursday: 11:30am-2am
Voted the best happy hour in DC by the Washington Post, Barcode also boasts hookah on its elegant outdoor patio on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights! Be sure to grab a pizza, some pasta, a steak, or some drinks off its menu… the kitchen is open until midnight every day!
*Sunday-Wednesday: 11 am-1:00 am
*Thursday: 11-2 am
*Friday-Saturday: 11 am-3 am
Zenobia features a wide selection of hookah and food but is also a multicultural cafe and bookshop. Featuring live Arabic music, hundreds of books, CDs, and DVDs, and free Wi-Fi, it is a great place to brush up on Middle Eastern history and puff the day away.
*Saturday: 10 pm-4 am
The Glow Patio at Fur is more than just a place to smoke… it’s one of the city’s top outdoor party destinations! With hookah service, a full-length bar, raised VIP seating and tables, a bumping sound system and renovated DJ booth, it’s easily the hottest hookah destination in DC on a Saturday night!
*Sunday – Wednesday: 5 pm-1:30 am
*Friday – Saturday: 5 pm-2:30 am
Chi-Cha is an incredibly popular, Latin-inspired lounge. Offering excellent hookah, modern Andean cuisine, sangria and tapas, it’s one of the best values around… hookahs start at $9!
Click here for more information on Chi-Cha Lounge.
*11 am – 2 am daily
One of the most popular and well established hookah spots in the area, Lebnan Zaman brings has a solid reputation and loyal crowd. The place serves up over 22 shisha flavors, as well as tasty kebabs and other Lebanese food.
*Monday – Thursday: noon-2 am
*Friday – Saturday: noon – 5 am
*Sunday: noon – midnight
If you’re in College Park or nearby, odds are Prince Cafe is one of your only hookah options. Prince Cafe also has locations in Tenleytown, Georgetown, Adams Morgan, and Falls Church.