So you want a hookah bar in New York City…
First off: great decision. Sure, NYC has some weak shisha spots. But it’s also got some rad ones.
And after running our HoboHQ through the Big Apple for several years, we know the spots.
Here Are Our Favorite New York Shisha Bars:
Sure, it’s in Astoria, Queens. Sure, few possess the courage and the gumption to make that voyage from Manhattan.
Because Jasmin is our perennial favorite and best hookah bar in Manhattan, Queens, or any other borough of New York City.
They’re cheap, serve legit shisha, provide free internet, and I’m pretty sure it’s open 24/7. And man, their coffee is nitrous for your mind. They’re very astute about keeping your coals solid too. This place takes me back to the old school ahwas of Egypt.
Be sure to check out the back patio. It mostly runs at night, but it’s rad and I think year-round. I’ve always gotten a table, even with large groups, but Jasmine Lounge definitely fills up during the typical peak times.
They don’t take cards, so bring cash. Cash is king in the classic Astoria hookah bars.
They don’t serve food, either, but you can bring in whatever you want. Or better yet, decree it the night of all that is Egyptian and hit up Mombar or Sabry’s beforehand. (Ask old man Mombar for some homemade Kushari.)
Like most of the Egyptian spots in Astoria, they also don’t serve booze. You shouldn’t have problems packing your own heat, though. Just don’t be overt about it.
Related: one of the cool things about these old school spots is they don’t muck around with two-hose hookahs or anything like that. Keeps it simple for you.
The go-to Manhattan spot, for better or worse, is Horus on 10th and Avenue A.
It’s a little more expensive than Jasmin, but it’s not bad for a Manhattan hookah bar that serves booze. It’s super chill during the day, so that’s the best time to drop by if you’re vibing for a more relaxed shisha session. At night, the music is uptempo and you’ll occasionally see a belly dancer trolling through the aisles. (How does she get her abs to move like that?) This place gets packed at night.
They’re food is glorious, though, so it’s a great dinner + pre-game spot. They offer a nice selection of legit shisha flavors.
Cozy is a newcomer to the party and they’ve made an interesting array of choices in their setup.
It’s got mostly low seating, weird music videos that don’t seem to correlate to the actual music playing, and the place can be hot as hell inside.
But because it’s new and in a somewhat obscure location, you shouldn’t have problems getting a table anytime of day.
Let’s say you’re blacking out at HiFi and you need to step out for fresh air. But you don’t want to lose the energy.
Kazuza is your spot. The pretty drinks, the Russian servers, the serviceable hookahs. It’s the best NYC hookah bar to stop at between bars to get off your feet for a tick.
And they usually don’t mind if you dance with the belly dancer, which is nice.
I honestly can’t remember if they serve food or not. Memory of this place is always fuzzy. Bless you, HiFi and your customizable jukebox. Sorta takes me back to the old college hookah sessions.
Egyptian Coffee House
You can’t run this list without 2 submissions in Queens.
The guy doesn’t speak much English. If you order a lot, they’ll probably mess up your bill, but you’ll never know because all they give you is the total due. And the service is slow as balls.
… in short, if you want super authentic, this is your spot. I love everything about this place.
It’s the place to take your friends or your squeeze for an under-the-bridge and under-the-tongue dose of credibility.
But the shisha ain’t bad and you can anticipate a few dudes in there playing backgammon and casually watching soccer or Egyptian TV programming. And even with the occasional bill fiascos, it’s still pretty cheap.
A Final Ode To Hade Bade
I would be remiss not to mention Hade Bade (pronounced “HA-deh BA-deh”), the first NYC hookah bar I ever discovered courtesy of a young Turkish HoboHero.
Yeah, it was loungey, overpriced, and enforced a minimum charge.
But it was so red. Seriously. Red carpeting, lights, booth fabric. But in a cool way, sorta.
But they served decent shisha and had a great location near our favorite HoboBars. And their seating allowed you to lay on the ground, which was key.
Sadly, they closed a few years ago and no other hookah bar carried the torch in lounge-ability.
Here’s to you, Hade Bade. You were great while you lasted. We’ll honor you every time we hit up these best NYC hookah bars.