Steamboat Springs 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.