Morton Grove hookah bar hopes patrons have a smokin’ good time
Customer David Kravetz, of Skokie, enjoys a hookah at Argila Hookah Bar in Morton Grove on July 7. | Michael Jarecki~For Sun-Times Media
NAME: Argila Hookah Bar
SPECIALTY: Flavored-tobacco smoking
ADDRESS: 6323 Dempster St., Morton Grove
HOURS: 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Mon.-Thurs., Sun.; 6 p.m.-3 a.m. Fri., Sat.
CONTACT: (847) 583-08370
Updated: August 20, 2012 6:24AM
MORTON GROVE — For some people of legal age and exotic tastes, where there’s smoke, there’s fun.
Argila Hookah Bar, at 6323 Dempster St. in Morton Grove, is a popular spot for people to come to socialize and smoke a hookah.
The hookah, also known as narghile or shisha, is an instrument for smoking flavored tobacco. It is popular in Middle Eastern countries, South Asia, Central Asia, North Africa and parts of Europe.
“It’s a social activity,” said Manager Steve Zawada noting that Argila’s location in Morton Grove is ideal because there aren’t many other hookah bars in the area.
Zawada has been the manager of Argila Hookah Bar for more than three years. Argila has been in business about four years, and before that the business was under different ownership.
Zawada said Argila can get crowded later in the evening, and the scene is mostly young people who come in with a group of friends to hang out.
The hookah bar offers more than 100 flavors to choose from and Zawada said patrons may choose to mix flavors, as well.
Customers must be 18 or older to enter the hookah bar, which is filled with comfortable couches for groups of friends to come in, hang out and have a smoke.
A couple of areas in the bar are more private, separated by a curtain, and seats can be reserved.
On the weekends customers are treated with music provided by disc jockeys, and the goal of the hookah bar is to provide a relaxing atmosphere, Zawada said.
Some of the flavors customers may purchase for $9 include: banana, blueberry, cherry, coconut, cola, mango, raspberry, mint and lemon. The $12 exotic flavors include appletini, candy apple, mango salsa, paradise island and sweet peach. House mixes for $15 include cherry bomb, mystic dream, superman, X-factor, exotic mist and good times.
There are daily specials such as a free-refill night, buy-one-get-one-free night and ladies night. No food can be purchased at the bar, but customers are allowed to bring in their own food.
Next door to the bar is a store where customers can purchase hookahs, glass pipes and various other tobacco products.
According to published reports, smoking hookahs has become increasingly popular with new hookah cafes opening in places with large Middle Eastern populations and near college campuses.
A statewide ban prohibits smoking in all public places. But “hookah bars” are exempt from the Smoke Free Illinois Act if they meet the requirements for a retail tobacco store. These requirements prohibit the sale of food and alcohol, and call for the establishment to earn more than 80 percent of its revenue from the sale of tobacco, cigarettes, pipes and other smoking devices.
In recent years a number of hookah lounges have opened within the city of Chicago. A website called hookahchicago.com provides a directory and ratings of dozens of hookah establishments in Chicago and surrounding suburbs, including Niles, Skokie and Deerfield.