By Yolande Brener
I went to Harlem Hookah for the Bloggers, Authors, and Publishers celebration on October 5th, 2016. Husband and wife co-owners, Tiffany and Stephen Bowen, gave my friend and I a warm welcome when we arrived.
I learned that Stephen was one of the premier defensive linemen of the National Football League, where he played for the Cowboys, Redskins, and Jets, and now works for the NFL Corporate side of things; and Tiffany also manages Skyler’s Gift Foundation, which helps families deal with the loss of their premature infant.
Writer and belly dancer, Lisa Martens, and I decided to wear gold and silver belly dancing bras to the event. On entering, we realized that this wasn’t quite in keeping with the “relaxed but sophisticated” vibe, but also the guests were too relaxed and sophisticated to raise an eyebrow. The wait staff enjoyed learning how to do a hip drop from Lisa.
The space is comfortable yet elegant, with its black and white Arabic-influenced décor of chandeliers and classic prints, and details like illuminated HH logos on the bathroom mirrors. The soundtrack is a combination of top 40, R & B and hip-hop.
Tiffany ushered us to a reserved table, and the treats started arriving. First we sampled humus and guacamole, both of which were delicious, and I liked the addition of carrots and celery sticks. Then the sliders came out.
“The sliders are really special,” Lisa said. “You have to say something about them.”
Next, two cocktails came out: a Harlem Mule, and a 369, named after the Harlem Hell Fighters WWI infantry. The signature cocktails are all Harlem-themed. Lisa drank both of ours, and she especially approved of the Harlem Mule.
Our Egyptian Pharaohs Hookah arrived in a tall red and silver pipe. The recipe is secret, but we guessed it contained jasmine and vanilla. The hookah selections are tobacco-free, and a state of the art ventilation system keeps the air smoke-free.
My friend, Distract TV host, Gita Cellei loved Harlem Hookah.
“I will definitely come back here,” she said. “I love it when new places open in Harlem.”
Gita was hungry after working a long day, so the wait staff brought out mac and cheese, and tortillas.
“We are seeing a lot of professionals coming in after work,” said Tiffany. ”They want to relax and have a good time without worrying about a being in a nightclub environment, or paying a cover charge.”
Harlem Hookah’s guests include a mix of creative types, sports enthusiasts, and local professionals. The Bowens’ mission statement says, “Harlem Hookah bridges downtown chic with the modern renaissance of Harlem to introduce an unparalleled lounge and social oasis in the heart of Central Harlem,” and so far, they are succeeding. Harlem Hookah is a wonderful new option if you want to meet your friends in a classy but relaxed atmosphere in the neighborhood.