Curiouser and curiouser... where to smoke in NYC
November 2, 2007 2:05 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a good hookah bar in Manhattan?

I know there are a ton of places in the East Village, LES, Ave. A, where I can go to smoke hookah/shisha, but I've got a couple things in particular I'd like to find if possible, as I've been to couple here that were not exactly right.

1. No super-loud music. My buddy and I like to go sit and smoke and talk for a couple hours. If it's too loud to have an extended conversation, it's not the right place. It seems like the places on 1st Ave that I saw are more like bars or clubs that have hookahs than places you can actually go and chill for a bit.

2. More than one coal. Most places I've been in other cities (and when I smoke at home with friends), they keep replenishing with hot coals to get better smoke. One place here looked at me like I was nuts when I asked for fresh coal.

3. Not self-lighting coals. I've found that the broken up lump charcoal does a better job than the self-lighting charcoal disks. The last place I went in NYC used the disks though.

4. Fresh water. Everywhere else I've been, you order a hookah and they bring everything out fresh. It seems like here, a lot of places leave the hookah out on the table and just bring out a bowl of tobacco when you order.

The only one that's critical is 1. The others would be nice to have though as long as I'm making silly requests.

posted by jewishbuddha to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would expand your reach to Queens, but I don't have any specific places that come to mind. I can ask some friends, would you be willing to hop on a train or no?
posted by sondrialiac at 2:46 PM on November 2, 2007

Sure... we can hop on a train [NOT 5BOROUGH-IST].

I just happen to be staying in LES while I'm in town, and had seen stuff around there, so it seemed like a fine place to start.

Are the places in Queens likely to be open as late as the ones in Manhattan? (I'm a clueless non-New Yorker)

All recommendations appreciated.
posted by jewishbuddha at 2:58 PM on November 2, 2007

I haven't been in ages, but I use to enjoy Sahara East a lot, on 1st around 10th st. A quick scan of some reviews suggests that ymmv, but I spent some nice QUIET afternoons in there, smoking to my heart's content. The food is good, too.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 3:09 PM on November 2, 2007

Steinway street in Astoria, Queens, has a lot of great cafes with a lot more genuine, less Manhattan-y feel, because it's an immigrant neighborhood. They do stay open very very late. Lots of places that only have men, etc. but you won't have to worry about them not replacing your coals (what kind of crappy place would that even be a problem?!)

It's a haul from the Lower East Side, you can take the V to Steinway Street. I can't get in touch with my friend who hangs out there, unfortunately--wish I could provide a name because I have had many good times in that particular part of town.

Good luck.
posted by sondrialiac at 3:21 PM on November 2, 2007

thanks for the tips. steinway st sounds like what we're looking for, but it's also nice to have an option in mind if we're not up for the schlep.
posted by jewishbuddha at 4:30 PM on November 2, 2007

The Door in midtown.
posted by sweetkid at 8:34 PM on November 2, 2007

I'd like to add when you're looking on Steinway street, you want the section between Astoria Blvd and 30th street in particular. The street is long and changes character quite a bit along the way.
posted by piratebowling at 8:07 PM on November 3, 2007

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