New downtown: Aladdin Hookah Lounge

The new Aladdin Hookah Lounge on Ninth Street attracts students and provides a relaxing environment

By Maya Garnaat | Nov. 5, 2012

Tags: Downtown Columbia

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There’s a new chill spot for MU students looking for a place to kick back and relax with friends after a day of school or work. Two weeks ago, what used to be a vacant storefront on Ninth Street has now become the Aladdin Hookah Lounge.

“The city could use one,” owner Nashwan Ali says. “(It's) a spot to enjoy ourselves and chill and socialize with others.”

The hookah lounge offers an array of flavors from two different brands of hookah tobacco. Customers choose their flavors at the counter and choose to sit in either the lounge area or the loft -- either spot guarantees quite the ambiance thanks to dim lighting and exotic music playing throughout. Guests can also quench their thirst or satisfy their munchies by choosing from the candies, snacks and bottled drinks also found at the counter.

Lounge employees then bring a tall, ornate hookah to the guest’s table with the coals burning and the flavor of choice placed inside. They come by periodically to replace the coals with fresh ones. You can even ask for a dish of bubble solution and a tube to blow smoke bubbles. It entertains guests and brings them together as different parties admire the size of other people’s smoke bubbles and watch them slowly descend to the ground.

“People could come and socialize and enjoy the hookah, enjoy the music," says Ali, who emphasizes hookah as a cultural experience.

So far, Aladdin has been received positively by students.

“The atmosphere is very mellow there," says MU freshman Caesar Nava, who has been to the lounge several times. "It’s a great social environment and a great place to have a good conversation."

Mayme Jordan, a new fan of Aladdin Hookah Lounge, says she had been apprehensive about trying out the hookah lounge at first.

“I had no idea what to expect," Jordan says in an email. "But honestly, it was great! The atmosphere was fantastic. It was really chill and relaxed. The employees were hard working, genuine, and efficient … I would definitely recommend it to others, both avid hookah-goers and first-timers.”

Aladdin Hookah Lounge is located at 12 S. Ninth St. next to Get Lost Bookshop and is open from 5 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and 5 p.m. - 1 a.m. on weekends.

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