Hookah bars are dark, mysterious, and seem somewhat forbidden or at the very least, members-only. But what is the history of hookah bars? How did they come about? What is hookah smoking? In order to understand all this, we need to go all the way back to the western provinces of India nearly 1000 years ago.
History of Hookah Bars: What is Hookah Smoking: In order to correctly understand why we have hookah bars, we first must investigate what hookah smoking is. Hookah is a water pipe; according to Princeton’s definition, hookah is “an oriental tobacco pipe with a long flexible tube connected to a container where the smoke is cooled by passing through water;” so hookah smoking is what colloquial language would basically call smoking a “bong.” But thefirst hookahs were made from a coconut shell base; the tube where the smoke was inhaled through was designed to smoke opium, hashish, and eventually “tombeik.” Tombeik is a dark tobacco which is grown in Iran; hot coals to wet tombeik elicited a strong flavor.
After carefully preparing a clean hookah with cold water, selecting a flavorful tobacco for the bowl, lighting and adding the charcoal, the aromatic hookah smoke is drawn bubbling through the water. Cooled and softened after being filtered by the water, light, pleasant smoke infuses the senses, lingering on the air, encouraging slow meditative breathing and sweetening conversation, games of dominoes, or quiet contemplation and study.
Some techniques used to enhance the experience of hookah smoking are adding ice to the water and chilling the hoses beforehand. The lush fruit flavors of hookah smoke can be heightened by the addition of fruit juice or wine to the water in the base, and both customers and proprietors of hookah smoking lounges regularly combine tobacco flavors to come up with their own special blends.
Some tips and warnings given by veteran smokers include the following: always use the proper charcoal, specifically made for hookah smoking-regular charcoal briquettes cause carbon monoxide poisoning, and charcoal which isn’t low-smoke will overwhelm the hookah smoke; only a very small amount of hookah tobacco is needed in the bowl, since a little goes a long way; if the smoke or flavor are lacking, it’s probably because the coals aren’t hot enough-when smoking for more than half an hour or so, fresh coals will be needed.
Because hookah smoking is, and has traditionally been, a social activity, the etiquette which attends it is important. Some of the rules of etiquette are never to light cigarettes using the charcoal that heats the hookah tobacco; avoid blowing smoke in the face of another person unless they ask–so they can taste the flavor being smoked; since the point of the individual plastic mouthpiece is health and safety, don’t share them; when one person is done smoking but the hookah is still in use, setting a hose directly on the table signifies that smoker is finished and another person may use the hose; when a hookah smoking session is completed, the hoses should be wrapped around the stem; finally, don’t smoke anything but tobacco out of a hookah.
History of Hookah Bars: How did Hookah Bars Come About: Hookah was made into cigarettes for the busy men to smoke while the women would continue to smoke the hookah at home as they entertained. Hookah bars eventually began popping up when hookah appeared in Turkey some 500 years ago. Many of the well-to-do appreciated the hookah smoking experience and wanted to be able to enjoy hookah on the go but wanted more than what the hookah cigarettes alone could deliver. So hookah coffee shops began appearing where the actual hookah could be smoked and enjoyed outside of the home while still using a common water pipe.
History of Hookah Bars
Jesse Schmitt, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Jul 1, 2010 “Contribute content like this. Start Here.” More: Hookah History of India History of Hookah Bars: Growth of Hookah Bars: Around 300 years ago hookah bars spread from Turkey to Lebanon to Syria to Egypt to Morocco to Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates. Hookah bars became something of the Middle Eastern water cooler or break room; people would all get together and discuss global politics or local events. Despite the fact that hookah bars were quite popular, there was still an air of mystery surrounding them. In some Muslim countries they believe the Hookah to be forbidden. Hookah bars eventually migrated to the United States and Europe in the 1960’s where they remain popular to this day; some hookah bars have even begun popping up countries like Japan
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