Argeelah/Hookah Bars Finding a Place in America

Hookah refers to the practice of smoking flavored tobacco through a tall, ornate pipe that sits on the floor; the hookah pipe has long been a popular pastime in Amman and Alexandria and all across the Middle East.

In liberal and literate Seattle, hookah lounges have opened on trendy downtown blocks and in predominantly white neighborhoods in the outer city, where the Rabbit Hole is located. Its customers are not middle-aged Egyptian men, but white kids from the suburbs.

“I’d almost call it an epidemic,” said Sean O’Neill, 20, a personal trainer who lives in Tacoma, Wash., and first tried hookah last spring.”

…In the past year or two, parlors have opened in college towns all over in the country, in Florida, Iowa, and Wisconsin, often operated by foreign students from the Middle East, wishing for a piece of home.

But in recent months, hookah has spread to the world of hipsters and yuppies in cities in all regions of the country. Customers can smoke tobacco in a hookah pipe in the Chi-Cha Lounge, a trendy, Latin-themed restaurant on U Street in Washington D.C., or at Mantra, an upscale French-Indian restaurant in Boston’s Ladder District.”

…Pipes cost between $50 and $180. In lounges and bars, the tobacco is sold in batches for as little as $5 or as much as $20. One batch can last a person an hour or longer. [source]

After years and years of the Middle East importing the worst of western culture I think itâ??s finally nice to see weâ??ve starting to export the worst parts of our own.

World War 3 may indeed be the ultimate clash of civilization with culture as the weapon. They will kill us with video clips and bad reality shows and we will kill them with the argeelah. We will die of brain tumors and they of black lungs.

Splendid. Just splendid.

But my sarcasm aside, it would be interesting if the argeelah really took off in the U.S. and soon after it was abandoned by the Middle East. Thatâ??s usually how this works, except weâ??re used to it being the other way around I suppose.


  • It is pretty amazing. Here in the metro DC area they are ALL over the place. It didnt used to be so bad, many were family owned place and pretty clean in nature, now they are turning into dance clubs where people go to get drunk even. There is a place near me, costs $20 to get in on the weekend, but they have live music, alcohol and dancing. Pay $20 to get in and you can see the women taking off their hijabs, getting drunk and dancing, you name it. Pretty sick.

Your Two Piasters: