Ahmad Akkad is hoping to offer more social options for the 18- to 21-year-old crowd with House of Hookah, which he opened on Ninth Street downtown about a month ago.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Ahmad Akkad is hoping to offer more social options for the 18- to 21-year-old crowd with House of Hookah, which he opened on Ninth Street downtown about a month ago.

Hookah lounge comes to Steamboat

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— As a teenager growing up in Steamboat Springs, Ahmad Akkad found that the party stops at about 9 p.m. for anybody younger than 21.

Now, as a 20-year-old himself, Akkad is hoping to offer more choices to the 18- to 21-year-old crowd with House of Hookah, a lounge and hookah parlor he opened in downtown Steamboat about a month ago.

“There was nothing to do after 9 p.m.,” Akkad said. “But you only have to be 18 to smoke.”

One of the first things Akkad is hoping to do is dispel the myths about hookahs. The pipes are filled with a mixture of tobacco, flavoring and molasses — not marijuana.

“The timing, that I opened up right after the (marijuana) dispensaries, that hurt me,” he said.

There’s also the coincidence that the House of Hookah opened next door to a smoke shop. There’s no connection between the businesses.

Akkad’s father, Bob, owner of Steamboat Jewelers, leased the back of the building at Ninth Street and Lincoln Avenue to his son and financed the start-up costs. He said he was happy to do it to keep his son near him and to offer a place for the 18- to 21-year-olds who otherwise can’t go out.

“They’ve got nothing to do in town,” he said. “If they don’t want to smoke, they can come in and have a drink. They don’t have to have a hookah to come in.”

The lounge has soft drinks and teas but no alcohol. Ahmad Akkad said the lounge also is proving popular with the mid-20s crowd, with a smattering of people from all age groups.

The business has a retail tobacco license, which means smoking indoors is allowed.

The lounge offers 23 flavors of smoke, ranging from the traditional apple and orange to the holiday-themed Christmas Mix — described by Ahmad Akkad as a potpourri-like smell — and Pumpkin Pie. The most popular flavor so far is the Blue Mist, a mix that smells like candy blueberries.

The House of Hookah also is a licensed retail shop, with hookahs, tobacco and charcoal for sale.

The cost for a hookah is $16 for a single person or $8 per person for two or more. As many as four people can use a hookah at a time. Ahmad Akkad said he’s also going to start offering a happy hour, from 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays, with $10 for a single person or $5 per person for two or more people. The lounge is open from 4 p.m. to midnight during the week and until 2 a.m. on the weekends.

Comments

Kevin Nerney 5 years ago

Good Luck, nice to see the next generation of entrepreneur's taking charge of their own future. Lord knows no one else will!!! We were in there the other night. It's a great place to hang out and watch a game without all the trappings and noise of a sports bar. Good meeting place while waiting for all members of your party to show up and decide what and where to eat. Great selection of tea's to warm up, after walking around shopping. Kevin and Kathy Nerney

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OnTheBusGus 5 years ago

While I appreciate this young man's entrepreneurialism, I am concerned about the type of business because it propagates smoking. I'm not talking about hookah smoking, I'm talking cigarettes. Since this establishment has the license to allow smoking indoors we all know it's going to happen and patrons will probably opt for cigarettes more often than paying the price for a hookah. Also, since the business allows younger patrons, how many young lives are going to become addicted to nicotine? Akkad should have asked for a grant from the tobacco companies to fund his business as he is helping them perpetuate smoking and gain new victims... I mean users.
So, as a non-smoker who enjoys smoke-free bars and restaurants, I won't be going here even though Kevin reports that they have a good selection of teas. I like tea also. Sorry, but I just don't want to come out of there reeking of cigarettes after breathing second hand smoke.

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