Hookah is a tobacco product that is smoked like a cigarette. The hookah, which is frequently used in Eastern culture, came first from India to Iran, then onto the Arabs and Ottomans. The hookah is made up of a number of parts; the section which contains the tobacco is called the “pipe bowl”, the long body is called the “ser”, the part that filters the smoke, and bubbles when you smoke it is the “bottle” and the section that takes the smoke from the bottle to the mouth is called the “hookah tube”. Hookah tobacco is also known as “tömbeki (Persian tobacco)”. The mouthpiece at the tip of the hookah tube is personal to each smoker. Tripster guides have travelled, seen and reviewed 10 of the most delightful hookah places in Istanbul:
Huqqa, one of the first names that come to mind when you talk about hookah, has 4 branches in Istanbul. Located in Kuruçeşme, Emirgan, Üsküdar and Bahçelievler, Huqqa blends eastern and western cultures. With its modern design, decorative patterns and pastel colours, it provides a peaceful environment for its guests to enjoy a hookah. You can choose to sit in the VIP rooms and enjoy your smoke privately. The menu is updated every October and May and the most preferred options are Cajun Chicken Finger, Beef Nachos, Beef Paillard (a Huqqa classic), and Milano Saltimbocca. The bottles of the hookah are specially designed and are constantly cleaned. The hookah tube is personal and comes as part of the package. Huqqa specialises in blended tobaccos.
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2. Lulu Lounge
Lulu Lounge Hookah offers a beautiful view of Beyoğlu. In Lulu Lounge, you can buy Fumo Design hookah, one of the best brands on the market. It offers VIP rooms for 2 to 16 people. You can play PS in a country-style room, and there are board games such as backgammon available too. The Turks consider hookah, Turkish coffee, and backgammon as the “great trio”. Vegetable bowls are a popular choice from the menu which includes outstanding dishes from around the world.
3. Azure The Bosphorus
Located on the terrace of Metropolitan Hotels, Bosphorus, this restaurant offers one of the most beautiful views of Istanbul. The best dishes from Turkish and world cuisines are prepared by the team, led by award-winning chefs. In Azure The Bosphorus, the hookah makes a sunset drink even more pleasurable. The Hookah Lounge offers premium tobacco blends and the VIP lounge with its stunning view is ideal for large groups. To start with, why not treat yourself to the Azure Pleasure Plate. Then we recommend the seafood, grilled beef and “çökertme” which is a kind of kebab.
4. Çorlulu Ali Paşa Medresesi
The madrasah was built by Çorlulu Ali Pasha, one of the grand viziers of Sultan Ahmet The IIIrd and the hookah-smoking section was built at the same time. You’ll be fascinated by its authentic decoration. Hookahs are an important part of Turkish culture and here you can enjoy one with herbal tea. We recommend the apple tea. The venue is open until 02:00 and celebrities, journalists and anyone who loves hookah in Istanbul frequently visit. There are four hookah shops in the Çorlulu Ali Paşa Madrasa in Çemberlitaş. When you enter through the main door, the hookah shop on the left is the most preferred one.
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5. PS Lounge
The hookahs here are prepared by Azeri craftsmen who blend fresh fruit and tobacco. The venue itself is an impressive fusion of classic and modern decor. The VIP lounge is spacious making it ideal for large groups. And there’s also a specially ventilated section, isolated from the smoke, which is suitable for children. We recommend you try the Antrikot kebab at PS Lounge in Etiler, one of the most elite districts of Istanbul. On the chef’s advice, we suggest you try the Fumo Jar Nargile hookah.
Located in Sultanahmet, Harab’be is well known for its hospitable staff. As soon as you enter, you find yourself in a warm and friendly atmosphere and once inside, you’ll be surprised how quickly the hours seem to pass. Harab’be is a place that everyone who visits wants to return to time and again. The staff speaks good English so you’ll have no communication problems – and the hookahs are very nice too. It’s not unknown for customers to describe it as “the best hookah I’ve experienced”. For the true Turkish experience don’t forget to play backgammon while enjoying your hookah.
7. Lotiz Lounge & Hookah
The most famous hookah at Lotiz Lounge is the Meduse. Located in Old Istanbul, Lotiz Lounge is open daily until 03:00. You can sip a drink and enjoy life while smoking your hookah with a view of old Istanbul which is worthy of the sultans. The lamb cage brought to the table with its special presentation is incredibly delicious as are the sealed steaks. You can try the hookah with a Turkish coffee and if you want some help to decide which hookah is for you, just ask.
8. Miran Nargile & Cafe
Here you can sit and enjoy a hookah peacefully in a quiet narrow street while watching life go by. Miran Nargile & Cafe is a friendly and happy place with its authentic decoration and wooden tables. We recommend the apple hookah. Don’t forget to ask for a glass of red wine or a glass of beer! After a tiring day of exploring Istanbul, this is a place to come and just relax.
9. Rembetiko Cafe
If you go to Kadıköy, Moda, do not forget to stop by Rembetiko for a hookah. Tea, herbal teas and coffee are served in the café where you can experience unique varieties of hookah. The tea is always fresh, the employees are always welcoming, and the people are always fun. Try the mint hookah, or if you don’t fancy just mint, we recommend the melon-mint blend. If you get hungry, check out the toasts.
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10. Al Fakeer Shisha Lounge
The Al Fakeer Shisha Lounge in Bebek offers 54 different types of hookah. Here you don’t just smoke hookah, you feel like a sultan. In the VIP rooms, even the air is exotic. The prices are quite high but worth it. After eating, sit back, order your coffee and start thinking about which hookah to try. The just enjoy it!
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