Golden Smoke Hookah Lounge opened for the first time on Friday, adding a new option for nightlife in Jefferson City.
The hookah lounge, located at 633 E. High St. on the corner of High and Lafayette streets, is stocked with 20 flavors of Starbuzz brand hookah tobacco, or shisha, ranging from red and white gummy bear to strawberry daiquiri to blueberry muffin and beyond.
"We wanted people to be comfortable and relax while they smoke hookah," said Corey Hykes, who owns Golden Smoke Hookah Lounge with business partners Davion Thomas and Dion Howard. "We want to invite everybody, no matter who they are, to come and have a golden experience."
For those unfamiliar with the pastime, a hookah is a water-basin pipe used to smoke flavored tobacco. Hookah lounges, popular especially in college towns and urban areas, offer commual hookahs (with individual mouthpieces) and a variety of flavors for customers to try.
Hykes and Thomas say Golden Smoke has a relaxed "coffeehouse vibe" — comfortable and casual — so people can come to socialize.
"It's going to have a party atmosphere but a social vibe," Hykes said. "You wouldn't come to a hookah lounge by yourself."
Thomas added: "It's like going to the movies."
In fact, their tobacco is priced to share. It's $17 for two people to share a bowl of hookah tobacco, which typically lasts an hour to an hour and a half, and $3 for each additional person. Separate hoses allow multiple people to enjoy smoking from the same hookah together.
Golden Smoke also has some prepackaged snacks and sodas available to purchase. For now, the hookah lounge will be open at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. "If we are really successful, we'll add a Wednesday and maybe a Tuesday," Hykes said.
Since they don't serve alcohol, there's no set time they have to close. "We'll just go off the moment," Hykes said. "If a lot of people are coming in at 1 a.m., we'll stay open."
Once Golden Smoke has had a month or so to get established, they plan to add events like jazz nights, poetry nights and speed dating. "We're trying to bring activities like that but still revolve it around hookah," Hykes said.
"I think it will add to the quality of downtown, as well. Definitely, there's a lack of things for people to do in the age range of 18-35," Thomas said. "It's another place to see old friends. It's like Facebook," he joked, with Hykes adding: " just a little bit more smoking."
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