Hookah Smoking Bars

· Thursday June 17, 2010

As everyone knows, we can't smoke anymore, but if you're willing to look a little less James Dean and a bit more Gandolph this winter, you can still hit a hookah (or shisha) at any number of smoking cafes scattered around Melbourne's inner north.

Attracted by the sweet strawberry smoke wafting from the open glass doors, I gave Coco's a shot. Sadly, my date cancelled at the last minute, so I ordered a lonely apple shisha for one and casually took in the scene: small groups of Arabic men huddled in card games blowing out formidable clouds of smoke while a TV set showed last night's world cup replay. A man in a kappa button-down tracksuit occasionally came to refill the hookah pipe and console my broken heart with hot lemon tea, while another lonely customer sat at the table opposite, listlessly spinning a twenty cent piece on the Formica table.

I recommend going with a group of your friends, a pack of cards and a ghetto blaster with your favourite Doobie Brothers tape, because while their delicious scented tobacco might be better than a packet of winnie blues, the music's a bit shit.