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Shi Chai in Milwaukee

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This is the place that I usually go to smoke, mostly because my friends like it there. They use Starbuzz, Fantasia, Al Fahker, and I think Layalina. The hookahs that they serve are Mya QT1s, which aren't really bad at all, just a bit small. I'm fairly certain they use Three Kings coals. The hookahs come out with one coal on top and two off to the side.

I've noticed they serve some people with larger, more elaborate looking hookahs -- I imagine these are friends or family of the owner/employees. There is a main room which can seat about 40, two bathrooms, and a back room which is of a higher quality than the main room. I've not spent too much time in there; I estimate it seats about 20. There is a fireplace in that room and more comfortable chairs.

The big problem when it comes to Shi Chai is that they don't seem to clean the hookahs very often -- maybe once a month -- and they don't use washable hoses. The hoses are marked with a flavor style ("fruity", etc.), so at least it isn't a huge mishmash of flavors, but the unclean hoses do lead to some inconsistencies. Whenever I'm in an area with good lighting, I see spots all over the vases of their hookahs that just screams "unclean". In addition to this, they've just gotten new people working with them, I assume, because recently they've been making mistakes with the water levels. There is nothing worse than inhaling a huge mouthful of unclean water from a dirty hookah! Ew!

All that said, Shi Chai isn't that bad of a place. The staff is pretty friendly and there's a decent amount of room between tables. The menu is VERY large, with 50+ flavors and many different sodas, smoothies, and coffee drinks. It may be unclean, but the smoke is usually decent at the very least, and the atmosphere of the place is nice overall. I'd like to go into their little VIP section, but that may not happen any time soon.

As a side note, they also have a website -- I'm not sure if I can link to it here -- and about 20 different hookahs on display for sale. They also sell the flavors they serve, and then some more flavors. Also, they sell other smoking accessories such as pipes, bongs, etc. in a corner of the store, but I stay away from that stuff. Oh, and parking can be a bother seeing as they don't have a parking lot or anything.


- Good atmosphere

- Friendly staff

- Lots of tables and space

- Clean bathrooms

- Many choices of hookah

- A decent amount of food and drink


- Overpriced ($2 for a bottle of water, $14 for a bowl of Al Fahker...)

- Not always clean

- Uses quick light coals

- Parking is pretty bad.

Go there if you've got a group of friends in the area and some money to spend. Otherwise, stay at home and enjoy a (most likely) better smoke.

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