Rising hookah use may bring new smoking bar to Allston

Rising hookah use may bring new smoking bar to Allston

By Sarah Taylor

It’s nighttime, and after a stressful Monday filled with classes and meetings, sophomore entrepreneurship major Stephanie Kavana just wants to wind down. But instead of turning to television or drinking, she sits in her living room with some friends to puff on a hookah pipe.

“It’s relaxing,” Kavana said, pausing to inhale from her hookah’s coiled hose, wrapped in cobalt and metallic gold. Sluggish clouds of smoke spurt out, the aroma of honeyed melon permeating the air. “[Smoking a hookah] gives you a sort of lightheaded feeling that’s not as drastic as smoking cigarettes or drinking, kind of an in-between.”

A hookah is a device used to smoke flavored tobacco, called shisha or narghile. It is inhaled through a hose connected to a glass basin containing water, which filters certain toxins and cools the smoke.

A centuries-old Middle Eastern tradition, smoking flavored tobacco from a hookah has seeped into American culture, emerging as an exotic and hip trend. There are already several hookah bars in Boston, and plans to launch another in Allston indicate Boston residents are embracing the fad.

Paul Berkeley, president of the Allston Civic Association, said two Johns Hopkins University graduates, one from Texas and the other from California, presented the idea of opening a hookah bar to Allston-Brighton officials. The hookah bar, if approved, would open in spring or early summer.

“The plan is to open a place that is similar to a smoking bar

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