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smokerings07

Ugh... I'm going to wipe the floor with these guys

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Today I was just looking around Craigslist and accidentally stumbled upon a property for lease that had the perfect rent and the perfect sq. footage in a good part of town. So I called the guy up and he was really intrigued with my ideas, said I had my head on straight, and wanted to meet to talk more. But he said there was one problem... he rented out the space next to it to a new hookah lounge 1 1/2 months ago. So that makes 4 hookah lounges total in Nashville now.

Well, I was intrigued about this place. I had seen it in passing and its called Habibi Cafe. It is 5 min from all universities, so a good location. I walked in at 7pm and there was no other customers in there. They open at 5pm (but to give the benefit of the doubt, there was a Vandy basketball game going on). The man gave me a menu and I looked at it. 16 flavors amongst 4 brands of shisha, 2 brands I had never heard of before. No prices on the menu, so I asked how much a hookah was and he said $12. So I picked a flavor and he went to pack it. Took him about 10 minutes, which is crazy unacceptable for me being the only customer in there. He brought out a Tri-Metal KM... okay, that's a good start. With a KM Hose... acceptable except in 3 months when you can't clean it out and it tastes nasty.

Then he proceeded to lump 3 fat natural wood coal on top of a bowl packed to the brim and careless holes punctured everywhere, and I could immediately hear the sizzle. So I started the hookah myself and sure enough, in 5 minutes that hookah was scorching.

Other observations: no music, except 30 min, then all Arabic music... not even Arab pop. Like traditional Egyptian singers. No wifi. TV's present, but turned off. Seating was composed of those wicker porch chairs. Decor was cheap and tacky with stringed lights all over the place.

So I've decided I'm going to heavily pursue this property.

1) students have been going to this place so any clientele he has/had will have to walk right by my lounge.

2) anybody that tries to connect to wifi will see "Cloud 9 Free Wifi" (w/ pass of course)... more free advertisement

3) i really hate to put him out of business, but that part will be inevitable, given the fact that his hookahs taste like ash and my hookahs are cheaper for the same products. i left 30 minutes after receiving the hookah, and my mouth tasted like i had been smoking a cigarette.

4) i'm using regal hookahs and Social Smoke Pro hoses... superior products IMO

5) i'm amazing

6) live music

7) comfortable leather couches

can you tell I'm getting excited? :D

I hope the landlord agrees to rent to me, even though he will have to find a new tenant for that spot eventually.

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Oh, and also Nima, I found out today that Nashville exempts hookah lounges from indoor smoking bans. I will have to collaborate with a lawyer on that, but if that's the case, then at the least, I'll have hot tea and coffee.

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I've read up on that. Other places haven't been so lucky. I heard SanFran got shafted. What I don't want to happen is what happened with a lot of NC lounges where they placed their money and marketing in food and beverage, only to get that cut out from underneath them. Hookah alone is a sustainable business model, and can even thrive with good marketing and strong image. Anything else on top of that is just gravy.

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Laws here state that if more than 60% of your revenue comes from the sale of tobacco and tobacco products, you are defined as a "smoke shop" and legally are allowed to smoke indoors. The cigar shops can do it, why not hookah too?

We had a smoke shop open up un my town (nearest used to be an hour away) and the owner had no hookah supplies for a month or so. Had 3 college freshman come ask him about ordering through him one day and within a month he is now running a lounge out if the shop 2 nights a week after normal hours, with demand for more nights even. He is having to buy more hookahs as he is thriving due to being able to smoke indoors when it is -20 out.

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that's pretty awesome to hear, moe. it's good to see more places popping up.

i'm definitely going to check out the TN laws on serving beer, because if i do alcohol, it will just be beer... but here's the thing. i'm on a shoestring budget, and with the cost of alcohol, permit fees, and storage costs (cooler), i will have to sell food... so now i gotta be a cook (here it says you have to serve what can be considered a meal), and hire someone to do that, and create a menu, and stay on top of food orders, and generate space for that as well as equipment for preparation and storage...

and what was once a feasible lounge is now a huge expensive project... all because one guy in WA wanted to have a beer with his hookah :)

and there are a lot of lounges that serve beer and food and what not... but their hookahs all suck. so here's the big debated question:

would you rather go to a hookah lounge with superior hookahs and non-alcoholic beverages, or a hookah lounge with mediocre hookahs and beer?

it's a question i would love to hear some answers to... but either way, i'm exploring all options at this point. really what is set in stone right now is my rent allowance, and so now its dependent upon how much bang i can get for my buck.

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I was actually in Nashville a month or so ago and went to a hookah lounge. I think it was owned by two Iraqis. I have to find pictures that i took there

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Yeah that was the lounge I was at last night, and the location I'm looking at for my lounge. His wife and him are Coptic Christians from Egypt. Very nice people, but really terrible hookah. What was your experience like there?

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I would say to start with pizza and pop. A little pizza oven is simple enough to use for most and counts as a full meal to any college student. Then just a fridge for pop. If you have the atmosphere this will be plenty. Once you are established you can up the ante with some craft brews.. just my take.

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I'll definitely have the pop, because that'll be outside the parameters of needing a food and beverage license. The pizza oven isn't a bad idea. I definitely want to play it by ear and the possibility of expansion seems great, which will mean the finances to incorporate beer and food and such.

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Yeah that was the lounge I was at last night, and the location I'm looking at for my lounge. His wife and him are Coptic Christians from Egypt. Very nice people, but really terrible hookah. What was your experience like there?

Honestly I liked their setup and how people were close to each other and the couches and pillows. I can't say the same for the quality of the hookahs and service though.

The problem is a lot of these places have the middle eastern style (great) and middle eastern service (not so great). lol

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