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TheEightyFour

Argeleny Hookah Lounge & Tobacco Shop, Richmond, VA

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I had some work to do tonight, and the wifey was spending time with her sister at home, so I decided to go out to a coffee shop I've been wanting to try out and set up shop.  When I got there, I found out they were closing in about 10 minutes, and decided to go to a hookah lounge instead.

 

I was heading toward Unwind, which is a small chain (3 shops around Virginia).  I never been there except to purchase Tangiers, and that was under an old business name and branding, so I figured I'd try it out.  I ended up driving by Argeleny and it caught my attention - last time I was in this area of town, it hadn't opened yet and there was no web page, no Facebook page, no Yelp page, nothing.  So I pulled up and pulled out my phone - while there is still no web page or Facebook page, their Yelp page had nothing but 5 star reviews.  So, I thought I'd swing in.

 

Argeleny Hookah Lounge & Tobacco Shop

304 W Broad St

Richmond, VA 23220

 

The outside facade of the building is a little nondescript.  A white/gray storefront, on a block with a bunch of other similar storefronts.  Driving by, it's easy to miss.  The display window of the store, however, is lit up with neons and a couple open signs.  I found this picture on Facebook:

 

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Upon going in, I noticed immediately that the place resembled more of a diner.  The seating is curved wood-back booths and a couple tables.  On the wall is pictures of middle eastern locations, in black and white, the one at the booth I sat at being of Jerusalem.  Some featured hookah smoking, some didn't.  Toward the back was a counter where tobacco and vape products are sold.

 

I was greeted immediately by one of the employees.  I'm assuming this guy was the owner.  He was very accommodating but a little flat in his personality - not friendly, but not mean either.  I was seated very quickly, given a menu, and a few minutes to make my choice.

 

Their menu consists of approximately 8 Nakhla flavors ($8), 12-15 Al Fakher flavors ($10), and what looked like the entire Starbuzz line ($12).  The prices are excellent, especially since I prefer Nakhla over AF or Starbuzz.  I don't think I've ever purchased a hookah at a lounge for less than $10.  They had just a few food options (pizza or gyros for $5, which were in small print at the bottom of the menu - I'm assuming microwaved, pre-made food), a case of bottled drinks, and a few other beverage options.

 

I opted for a bottle of water and Turkish coffee, as well as Nakhla Mint (not Mizo - it doesn't seem like they carry the Mizo line).

 

Before my hookah was ready, I noticed the other tables while gathering my laptop to do some work.  They were all KM hookahs with KM rainbow hoses, and they were using what I'm guessing were Coco Mazaya coals - large, square, all natural coals.  It took about 5 minutes to get my hookah, and before I even received that, another employee came around, blew off the ash from the coals, and replaced coals for some of the hookahs.

 

Also, they have WiFi.  So that was a great benefit for me - I didn't have to pull out my hotspot to get some work done.

 

I got my hookah, and the employee (I can't remember his name, but a super friendly guy) asked me to take a few puffs and make sure it tasted good and was outputting enough smoke before walking away.  I figure they must have something like a Shishavac - the hookah was great right off the bat.  Every lounge I've ever been to drops the coals on the foil at the table and it's usually weak for a few minutes.  During that time they usually disappear.  This came out with coals on top, ready to go, and the tobacco at the perfect temperature.

 

I hung out for probably an hour and a half.  During that time, the employees came around on a normal basis to check on the coals, make sure everything was good, etc.  I never had a single moment where the coals got too hot, too cold, or the smoke became weak or harsh.

 

There was music constantly playing.  Most of it was pop music, played at a reasonable volume.  It wasn't distracting or overly loud.  They cranked one song, and even when they did that, I didn't feel like it was too loud.  I also noticed they were using Rokit 5 studio monitors for their music (I have similar monitors for music production on my desk), so it sounded very crisp and clear.

 

When I left, I took a brief look at the counter - it looks like they sell the same brands of tobacco they offer for smoking - Nakhla, AF, and Starbuzz.  I didn't take a good look at the vape selection, but it looked like they had a few quality products as well.  I really didn't take too much of a deep look because I just really had to pee.  So I hit up their restroom on the way out, and it was as clean as would be expected.

 

Overall, I'd rate Argeleny:

 

Quality of Hookah: 9/10.  I wish they had wind covers over the hookahs, but the smoke was just as good as I'd get from a great session at home.

 

Food/Beverage Offerings: 8/10.  I would like to see some food options on the menu that don't look like they're microwaved.  However, the turkish coffee was great, strong and mildly bitter, served traditional style.   However, for sugar, I was given a plastic spoon.  It'd be nice if they had cups to serve beverages in, instead of offering a bottle to your table, and a pitcher for water instead of a water bottle.

 

Staff: 10/10.  Very attentive, without being in your face.  There were a couple regulars in there that also made the staff seem very friendly and helpful, as well as gracious to have customers.

 

Atmosphere: 7/10.  This is the only space this place lacks.  It wasn't overly bright, but I felt the lights could have been slightly more dim, and the quality of seating, while adequate and comfortable, didn't make me want to "lounge."  However, while you could hear every conversation going on at tables around you, and you could hear the music clearly, nothing was distracting.  Another point of contention was they placed the hookahs on the floor next to your table.  This made the walkway rather congested.  Especially without wind covers, I could see an accident happening rather quickly.

 

Overall: 9/10.  Even with the shortcomings that this place does have when it comes to atmosphere and food/beverage offerings, this was, by far, the best experience I've ever had with hookah at a lounge.  The staff and the hookah made up for any of the shortcomings, and, as someone that usually is on their computer while smoking, wasn't that big of a deal to me when just trying to get some work done.  I will definitely come back here again soon.

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Very good review. I've been to couple hookah places in Richmond but probably close to 7 years ago

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Wish i seen this earlier today went to a horrible lounge in Richmond

 

You must have gone to Sahara.  That place is a shit hole.  I'm not even going to apologize for my language.  Aladdin's, just a block over, is not great, but leaps and bounds better.

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You must have gone to Sahara. That place is a shit hole. I'm not even going to apologize for my language. Aladdin's, just a block over, is not great, but leaps and bounds better.

you're correct. I will never go back to that place. Next time im in the area ill hit you up and ask what place to go. Maybe a meet up too? Lol

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you're correct. I will never go back to that place. Next time im in the area ill hit you up and ask what place to go. Maybe a meet up too? Lol

 

jHookah, quoting you here because you might want to know this.

 

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I went to Argeleny today.  I'm pretty sure they're usually open from about noon-2 or 3 am.  Sure, it's memorial day weekend, but they were closed, with no sign on the door.  All of the tables were gone, all the nice leather/vinyl booths they recently added were gone, and all the chairs were piled up against the wall.  I'm not saying they're closed for business, but it certainly appeared that way.  I'll keep this thread updated.

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jHookah, quoting you here because you might want to know this.

---

I went to Argeleny today. I'm pretty sure they're usually open from about noon-2 or 3 am. Sure, it's memorial day weekend, but they were closed, with no sign on the door. All of the tables were gone, all the nice leather/vinyl booths they recently added were gone, and all the chairs were piled up against the wall. I'm not saying they're closed for business, but it certainly appeared that way. I'll keep this thread updated.

oh wow i was going to richimond tomorrow and was hoping to go

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Hey jHookah - just an update - I went there last week trying to get away from everything going on here and have some downtime for a bit.  They are open.  Woo.  Looks like they've switched to disposable hoses though, so you might want to consider bringing your own hose.

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Hey jHookah - just an update - I went there last week trying to get away from everything going on here and have some downtime for a bit. They are open. Woo. Looks like they've switched to disposable hoses though, so you might want to consider bringing your own hose.

thank you for the update they are in my top three favorite hookah lounge to go too

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