By Sara Lugardo
What used to be a trendy fad that could be found in a large number of Chicago nightclubs has started to disappear to select bars. While popular nightclubs like Zentra and Funky Buddha Lounge used to offer the hookah experience in their nightclubs, the smoking ban that hit the nation regulating smoking in public places put a stop to many nightclubs in Chicago offering hookah. However, that doesn’t mean the hookah experience was lost forever. Hookah bars are still a hot and trendy idea for large groups in Chicago for private parties, special events and group outings.
1046 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, IL 60622
Arabia Hookah Café offers a cozy lounge/best friend’s basement vibe and a convenient location for those close to downtown or Wicker Park. The décor has a distinct Moroccan feel with a laid back attitude. It is a B.Y.O.B. establishment and offers a variety of tobacco flavors. You can check out all of the shisha flavors here. Large groups of around 20 people are catered to by joining tables with no prior notice necessary. However, the entire café can also be rented out for private weekend parties starting around $2,000, depending on the group size. Reservations are required for additional information on private events.
3330 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60657
Click here for list of tobacco flavors
In a traditional Moroccan motif, Samah has a large variety of tobacco flavors for patrons to choose from. There are even custom-blended flavors that are signature to Samah. The restaurant offers Meditareanian entrees complimentary with the purchase of hookah products. There is also a dessert menu following your hookah experience, as well as traditional drinks like Arabic chai or Turkish coffee. Larger parties of around 50 people are catered to by rearranging the couch area to have a designated private area. Reservations are required two to three days prior to the arrival of guests and discounted prices can be negotiated depending on the party size.
3308 N. Harlme Ave.
Chicago, IL 60634
Hubble Hookah offers guests more than 100 tobacco flavors and the option to blend different flavors of shisha. There are customized flavors that are signature to Hubble Hookah, which cannot be found elsewhere. While the food menu isn’t extensive, the restaurant does offer the favorites like falafel, batata and hummus. Drinks include organic teas, coffees and espressos, making this a great place to bring your laptop in the late afternoon if you’re looking for an alternative to the usual coffeeshop. Parties between 12 and 14 people can be catered to with ease, but larger parties must be negotiated beforehand. Reservations are mandatory, especially during weekend hours.
The Hookah Joint Lounge
2755 W. Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
This lounge is a little different from other hookah bars in Chicago because it has a more modern atmosphere than the traditional Moroccan motif. The Hookah Joint Lounge offers free Wi-Fi and live DJs spinning hits throughout the night. Open from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Sunday, this hookah lounge has more of a nightclub type feel to it. This is a B.Y.O.B. establishment, but it does offer hookah catering for your private events. All the equipment, tobacco and staff will be included in the catering, where they will bring the hookah experience to any large event you have planned. Click here for catering information.
Ugly Hookah Café
3415 Bryn Mawr Ave.
Chicago, IL 60659
Ugly Hookah is a B.Y.O.B. café without a corking fee. There are three separate sections available for larger groups or private parties, and Ugly Hookah is able to hold at least 100 people in one of the sections. The capacity here makes it the best spot to hold a large private event. Enjoy the authentic experience here, with Middle Eastern music, decor and friendly faces. There is no charge for booking the space, but reservations are required prior to the event.
Sara Lugardo is a Korean American who thrives in writing about Asian community news in Chicago. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.