Despite the decline in cigarette smoking and the widespread ban of smoking in public places, hookah is actually gaining in popularity in many areas. Philadelphia is no exception. The practice of smoking flavored tobacco using a water pipe called a hookah is generally considered a smoother, cleaner experience than smoking other types of tobacco. And because of the communal experience of sharing the hose from the hookah, it’s become a popular way to spend a relaxing evening with friends. From comfortable cafes serving mint tea to nightclubs featuring DJs, dance music and belly dancers, these are the best spots serving hookah in Philadelphia.
Bside Hookah Lounge
241 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
With its hip Old City vibe, Bside Hookah is a popular spot to grab a few drinks and a bite to eat while smoking some hookah. There are about 20 flavors of Al Fakher available with options like vanilla, banana and guava for $20. The exotic flavors such as margarita, fuzzy lemonade and apple martini are $25. The lounge is connected to Barra Italian Restaurant, and the entire menu is available. The Margherita pizza is a favorite, particularly when paired with the basilico cocktail. With DJs spinning techno and house music, belly dancers and even Latin dance classes, there’s something going on just about every night at Bside.
Byblos Restaurant and Bar
114 S. 18th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Visit this popular Rittenhouse Square spot with a group of friends to enjoy a night of Mediterranean food, strong cocktails, hookah and music. The kitchen is open every day and even stays open until 1:30 a.m. or 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, making it the ideal spot for a late bite to eat after a night out. The hookah will run you the typical $20 to $25, or you can stop in on a Thursday night between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. for Hip Hop and Hookah night and receive free hookah with the coupon available on the website. With specials each night including happy hour deals, belly dancing, themed music nights and more, there’s always a reason to stop in Byblos.
Fez Moroccan Restaurant
620 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Grab a cushion and get comfortable for a night of hookah, music and memorable dining at this Moroccan-style restaurant. Choose from over a dozen flavors of hookah, with options such as mango, pomegranate and passion kiss. All flavors are $25. Or, receive your hookah for half the price when you opt for the Fez Feast available Sunday through Thursday. This seven-course dinner is $25 per person, and is a wonderful way for your entire table to get the full experience. Complete your meal with wine (including Moroccan varieties), beer, cocktails or herbal mint tea. Visit on a Friday or Saturday for Moroccan music and belly dancers.
Infusion Lounge Philly
16 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Infusion opened in a brand new, bigger location in May 2013. Now situated above Nick’s Roast Beef in Old City, Infusion is a dance club, lounge and hookah bar all in one. Guests can get comfortable with friends on the plush couches, grab a seat by the bar or let loose on the dance floor while the DJ spins electro house music. Hookah is typically $25 and ranges from classic Al Fakher flavors such as lemon mint to more exotic Starbuzz flavors like apple martini. Despite Infusion’s 6 p.m. opening time, the loud music and scantily-clad waitresses makes it more of a late-night spot. Bottle service is available in the VIP lounge with reservations.
Luxor Café & Hookah Lounge
132 S. 45th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Comfortable couches, a clean environment and friendly staff make this University City spot a great place to relax with friends while enjoying hookah. Prices are among the most reasonable in the city, with premium Fakher flavors such as double apple, lemon and citrus mint running you $10 per hookah. Exotic Starbuzz flavors such as pink lady and kiwi strawberry are $15, and nicotine-free flavors are $12 per hookah. The use of flavorless charcoal keeps the hookah flavor clean, and the knowledgeable staff is more than willing to make flavor suggestions if you need a little guidance. You won’t find booze here, but the fresh juices, smoothies and other non-alcoholic drinks are quite good, with the mint tea being a favorite.
Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer fiance would love to open.
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