Whether you call it hookah, shisha or narghile, the tradition of fruity waterpipe smoking is a delicious one, though smoking bylaws now dictate that herbal products, not tobacco, is used. It won’t get you high, but at $10-$15 for a loaded pipe, which lasts nearly an hour, it’s worth a shot. Herewith, Calgary’s best shisha bars.
Café Med is Calgary’s first shisha spot, offering original house blends like pink lemonade and cherry bomb. Middle Eastern music, low-slung couches and sumptuous homemade pizza make this spot ideal for a chilled out evening of fruity smoking. 1009 1st St. SW, 403-286-8452.
A few doors down from Café Med, this Somali-run restaurant offers everything from Fattoush salad to poutine. But Brava is distinguished by its purple tin-covered ceilings, colourful wall hangings and 40-flavour selection, including pomegranate and bubble gum. 1001 1st St. SW, 403-263-1112.
Located in the trendy Marda Loop, Narah (Arabic for fire) draws a young crowd, thanks to its patio, weekend DJs and belly dancers. Head there for some Sex on the Peach blend and a generous $10 plate of hummus. 2139 33rd Ave. SW. 403-258-1609.
Don’t let the slightly decrepit exterior discourage you; once you enter, you’ll see a two-metre tall decorative sheesha pipe, and a long bar, which sells booze – making Mirage a rarity on this list. Sumptuous lamb stands out on a strong menu. 650 10th Ave. SW, 403-269-9919.
Image courtesy of Eric Hamilton on Flickr.