There’s a new hookah lounge in town and it goes by the name of Hookah Turka. Supposed to open during Musikfest 2009 and delayed due to city of Bethlehem zoning regulations, the business finally opened its doors the weekend of March 12th with (from what I hear) a great opening weekend featuring a DJ and a belly dancer.
I was fortunate enough to be able to hop in a few days before that to check out the place without a crowd with a few friends. Upon entering I first noticed it’s distinctly different from the other hookah lounges I’ve been to…most were kind of dingy and rundown or too club-like for what a “lounge” should be. Hookah Turka is a warm, inviting environment with authentic Turkish detailing that accents the decor. There are comfortable seats, or along the wall there is a long padded bench with tons of pillows for relaxing on. There’s also a room in the back with nice couches that can be rented out that holds around 30 people.
I sat down with my friends and chatted with the owner, Duygu, for a while and smoked hookah. We had double apple and then moved on to passion fruit later on. I ordered bread with dipping oil because I was starving and also had some Turkish tea with Tuzlu (salted cookies with sesame seeds). Everything was tasty, especially the tea. I drank it straight with no sugar or cream and it was quite tasty.
Just this past Friday I visited again with another friend, this night for a late-night encounter after a night of The Firehouse for LV Scene‘s Going Away Party and then Ripper’s for a beer. They got a few new flavors in, including Blue Mist. I can only assume this is at the request of many patrons because I’ve heard a LOT of people talking about the flavor. My friend ordered a hummus platter which featured warm, delicious pita bread and some delicious hummus with fresh ground pepper on top. As one of the only non-diner places to get food after 2am, it certainly hit the spot.
Hookah Turka, I think, will bring in a consistent stream of people and add a dynamic to downtown Bethlehem. It’s not the best-placed venue, located right next to the festering cesspool that is the 40 Below club, as evidenced by the arrival of 10 police units and multiple club-goers being arrested right outside the otherwise quiet atmosphere of the lounge. The prices are reasonable for the venue and the only really bad thing I can say about them is they don’t take credit cards, which is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. It’s probably the best place in Bethlehem or Allentown to relax after 2am and it does a good job of sticking to what a hookah lounge really should be: calm, relaxing, and conducive to group conversation.