Texas Hookah Lounge: Not Just Blowin' Smoke

Photo by Angelica Leicht

Smoke billows from our mouths as we draw out the syllables of each word, then dances above our heads in a mesmerizing manner. We have just taken a drag from the hookah pipe sitting in front of us and are attempting to create clouds of smoke-letters in the air.

Needless to say, we are failing miserably. We look much less like the caterpillar from Alice In Wonderland than we'd hoped..

Fortunately, though, no one here at Texas Hookah Lounge (1431 Westheimer) seems bothered by the abundance of smoke our attempts are producing. The haze is just par for the course in this place. To us it seems pretty late to have such a packed crowd, but the staff doesn't seem bothered in the least.

Sandwiched among a smattering of other Montrose bars like Anvil, Etro and Boondocks on the Lower Westheimer "curve," the cozy lounge begs for hookah fanatics and other bar castoffs who aren't quite ready to call it a night. And plenty of people aren't quite ready to go home this evening, apparently. The crowd is testing the fire-code limits, as each table packed to the gills with groups of folks circling the hookah pipe on each one.

Everything about this lounge is eclectic, from the subject matter of shisha -- which can refer to both the pipe itself and the molasses-based tobaccos smoked within it -- to the patrons, with laid-back college kids and high-heeled business folks all chatting animatedly over billowing clouds of smoke. One thing is abundantly clear upon stepping inside, though: This little lounge is not in the cocktail business.

Absent are the bottles of Grey Goose or elaborate cocktails that line the tables of the neighboring bars. In their place sit expensive hookahs, which gleam from their stations at center stage. The high-end lounge scene is an interesting concept, particularly on this bar-heavy stretch of Westheimer, but hookah cafes in Houston are nothing new. They've dotted the streets for years, reflecting what a multicultural mecca this city has become. Judging by the number of folks flocking to Texas Hookah Lounge on this Friday night, the concept seems to be working.

Story continues on the next page.

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