On the weekends when the bars close late but not late enough, hookah bars offer a place to sit down, smoke and unwind.
Hoo-huh, you say?
Hookah bars feature water pipes for smoking flavored tobaccos. Decor and dishes are Middle Eastern. There are three in the area, each with its own style.
Located on Light Street, Zeeba Lounge is Baltimore's first and most traditional hookah bar. Its hard-to-miss overhang is stamped with a picture of a large water pipe, and the bar's name is scrawled in a typeface resembling wisps of smoke.
The dimly lit lounge offers knee-high tables and small suede ottomans for dining. The terra-cotta-colored walls are draped in tapestries. Sofas line the walls and offer a more appealing seating arrangement than the tiny stools. Beaded curtains hang from the bathroom doorway, and a large mirror, rimmed in a detailed gold design, is near the entrance.
The crowd consists mainly of college kids and late 20-somethings. Don't be surprised to see a belly dancer twirling and gyrating to the contemporary Middle Eastern music.
As well as a full menu of traditional Mediterranean dishes, the bar offers an array of tobacco flavors, the most popular being apple, lemon and grape.
Three Kings of Egypt
Right down Light Street from Zeeba Lounge sits the Three Kings of Egypt Coffee Shop. Although the sign out front is a bit deceiving, Three Kings does have water pipes. At first glance, the place looks like a deli ornamented with a few Egyptian stenciled wall murals. A life-size King Tut-like tomb towers over the entrance. A case of Middle Eastern artifacts lines one wall of the foyer, and a large, flat-screen TV, displaying European music videos, immediately catches your eye.
Three Kings goes with the typical dining table and chairs for its seating arrangements, leaving plenty of room to stretch your legs. The music is similar to Zeeba's, but a bit more upbeat. Though Kings does not fit the club description, there is a belly dancer who invites you to join in.
Three Kings offers traditional Middle Eastern dishes as well as Greek and American food. Like Zeeba, it has an extensive list of tobacco flavors.
The city's most contemporary and American hookah lounge is on Boston Street in Canton. The size of a warehouse, Huckas is a sports bar, hookah lounge, pool hall, cigar bar and restaurant. It opened about a month ago with the idea of combining the traditional hookah bar with an American accent.
When you're finished smoking, you can stick around Huckas for a game of pool, watch some sports on one of numerous giant flat-screen TVs or stay for a meal. The restaurant offers ample space to dine including a nonsmoking area. You can book a party in the VIP lounge.
Zeeba Lounge: Wednesdays and Thursdays: 5 p.m.-midnight, Fridays and Saturdays: 5 p.m.-4 a.m., $12 hookah, 916 Light St., 410-539-7900
Three Kings of Egypt: Monday-Sunday: 4:30 p.m.-4 a.m., $7 hookah, 1027 Light St., 410-244-8445
Huckas: Monday-Thursday: 4 p.m.-1 a.m., Friday and Saturday: 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m., Sunday: 11 a.m.-2 a.m., $12 hookah, 2324 Boston St., 410-522-7770