Hookah lounge opening set
June 13, 2007
Students, stoners, bikers and paramedics are among the people Danny Fuller, 18, lists as the people he’s smoked a hookah with.
“You even get the preppy types and stuff,” says his friend Ray Gomes, as they sit in Caterpillar’s Hookah Lounge. “Kids that you would be like, ‘wow.'”
The lounge, on South Carson Street next to Comma Coffee, has its grand opening this weekend.
“A cigarette you puff on it, you puff on it and you’re done. You throw it away,” Gomes said, smoking Sheesha, tobacco flavored with molasses, out of the Eastern-style water pipe. “This, you just kind of go at your own pace. It’s just kind of laid back.”
With low tables, hanging rugs and a ceiling fan that has blades shaped like petals, the store has the feel of a 19th-century British outpost in Africa.
One of the owners, Clint Darquea, said he’s trying to create a relaxed, “not aggressively anything” atmosphere.
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“It’s interesting enough that young kids are going to be hip with it and want to come in,” he said. “(But) it’s not going to put off older people. It’s not like we’re blaring house music and it’s dark and it’s full of smoke and lights and things.”
Anyone wishing to partake in the sheesha must be at least 18 years old.
The store will have 40 flavors of sheesha, which customers smoke from the hookah after it is cooled in the body of the pipe. Darquea said the smoking allows the store to be both casual, like a cafe and a lounge where customers can spend several hours.
He said it’s not too trendy for Carson City, because “it’s not like people are raised in the desert and don’t know any better.”
Darquea is still decorating for the weekend – one of his pieces is a lamp his neighbor was about to throw out – and said he’s trying to make the store a place where most people will be comfortable.
“But not so ‘something for everybody’ that it’s undefinable. Starbucks has something for everybody, but I don’t go there, because it’s so lifeless,” he said.
Though Fuller and Gomes have hookahs of their own, they said they like Caterpillar’s because it’s a good place to meet people and spend time with friends.
Smokers should be careful not to smoke too much, though, or they’ll turn blue, Gomes said.
“Oxygen deprivation kicks in.”
The American Lung Association also has warnings about the hookah.
“Contrary to what many beginning users may think, hookah tobacco use carries many of the same risks as cigarette smoking, including being linked to lung cancer and other lung diseases,” said John L. Kirkwood, president and CEO of the American Lung Association in a recent report. “Hookah tobacco use is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.
“The fact that hookah use also increases the chances that kids will start smoking cigarettes should be of great concern to policymakers and the general public.”
• Contact reporter Dave Frank at email@example.com or 881-1212.
If you go
What: Caterpillar’s Hookah Lounge
Where: 314 S. Carson St. next to Comma Coffee
When: Grand opening this weekend
Cost: $10 a person or $18 for four people
The hookah is one of the oldest and most deeply rooted traditions in Turkey. Originally, the hookah came from India in the form of a coconut shell, but it was in Turkey that it completed its change and formed the hookah that is smoked today. By the middle of the 1600s, the hookah established itself in the coffee-shop culture as a centerpiece for afternoon tea and intellectual conversation.
Source: Caterpillar’s Hookah Lounge