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TheEightyFour

Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar, Charlottesville, VA

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So this is my second time hitting up this lounge, but the last time was probably 6 years ago.  I went with the same awesome friend for some awesome catch-up time.

 

The Tea Bazaar is a strange place in a strange town.  Located in Charlottesville's Downtown Mall, it's easy to miss, were it not for their pop-up sign outside.  Climb up the steps and you enter what looks like "hippie heaven."  There's a tree carved into the wall with all kinds of openings, tea everywhere, and... a really confusing layout.  Is it a hookah lounge?  Is it a coffee shop for the "enlightened?"  It's a strange vibe, but it goes with the town.  If I had to describe the decor throughout, I'd certainly call it an Indian bazaar, with all kinds of knick-knacks and oddities everywhere, low-seating tables, etc.

 

Hookahs are $15 (about the max of what I'd like to pay), but mixing flavors is $2 (really?!?), and the "premium" flavors are $3 more.  I asked what the "premium" tobacco was (afraid that it was Starbuzz or something), but it's actually AF, and the hostess recommended we don't get it because people don't often buy it, and so it's a little more stale than their standard (Al Tawareg).  Worst sales pitch ever.

 

We ordered a mix of orange cream and mint.  We then found out that we were there for "hookah happy hour" (at 7:30 at night... Charlottesville's a weird place), so it was half off.  $17 hookah for $8.50.  Now we're talkin'.

 

Since you cannot actually smoke in their main room, we ventured out onto the patio.  There's another inside room, but there was a guy in there looking like he was writing his entire college dissertation, so we figured we'd sit outside on the patio.  Small, but about 6 tables.  You could fit about 25 people out there total.

 

After about 5 minutes, out came the hookah.  Wind cover on top, Egyptian bowl, and natural cube coals.  I have no clue what kind of coals they were, but they only started to die out around 10 PM.  The hoses were just standard, non-washable hoses with a "python" mouthpiece.  I, then, kicked myself for not bringing one of my hoses.  But, oh well.

 

The hookah was pretty much spot-on, but the staff left something to be desired - we were never checked on, offered additional coals, offered to turn the coals, or even to bring water for us.  You have to go inside if you need anything, and that's pretty lame.

 

Otherwise, one "strange" event happened - three tables were seated on the patio, probably 10 people total or so.  A girl comes out, surrounded by people she didn't know, sits in the corner and faces the patio's fence (you can see the sky and the top of the town from there), and proceeds to light up a joint.  No one really cared, but it was a bit shocking to see someone just light up in public like that, especially in a state where it isn't yet legal.

 

So, besides ganja girl, I'd call this a success.  There's not a lot of hookah bars in Charlottesville, but this is a very good one, and I'd recommend it if you're in the area, though be aware that you will not be served unless you ask.

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So this is my second time hitting up this lounge, but the last time was probably 6 years ago. I went with the same awesome friend for some awesome catch-up time.

The Tea Bazaar is a strange place in a strange town. Located in Charlottesville's Downtown Mall, it's easy to miss, were it not for their pop-up sign outside. Climb up the steps and you enter what looks like "hippie heaven." There's a tree carved into the wall with all kinds of openings, tea everywhere, and... a really confusing layout. Is it a hookah lounge? Is it a coffee shop for the "enlightened?" It's a strange vibe, but it goes with the town. If I had to describe the decor throughout, I'd certainly call it an Indian bazaar, with all kinds of knick-knacks and oddities everywhere, low-seating tables, etc.

Hookahs are $15 (about the max of what I'd like to pay), but mixing flavors is $2 (really?!?), and the "premium" flavors are $3 more. I asked what the "premium" tobacco was (afraid that it was Starbuzz or something), but it's actually AF, and the hostess recommended we don't get it because people don't often buy it, and so it's a little more stale than their standard (Al Tawareg). Worst sales pitch ever.

We ordered a mix of orange cream and mint. We then found out that we were there for "hookah happy hour" (at 7:30 at night... Charlottesville's a weird place), so it was half off. $17 hookah for $8.50. Now we're talkin'.

Since you cannot actually smoke in their main room, we ventured out onto the patio. There's another inside room, but there was a guy in there looking like he was writing his entire college dissertation, so we figured we'd sit outside on the patio. Small, but about 6 tables. You could fit about 25 people out there total.

After about 5 minutes, out came the hookah. Wind cover on top, Egyptian bowl, and natural cube coals. I have no clue what kind of coals they were, but they only started to die out around 10 PM. The hoses were just standard, non-washable hoses with a "python" mouthpiece. I, then, kicked myself for not bringing one of my hoses. But, oh well.

The hookah was pretty much spot-on, but the staff left something to be desired - we were never checked on, offered additional coals, offered to turn the coals, or even to bring water for us. You have to go inside if you need anything, and that's pretty lame.

Otherwise, one "strange" event happened - three tables were seated on the patio, probably 10 people total or so. A girl comes out, surrounded by people she didn't know, sits in the corner and faces the patio's fence (you can see the sky and the top of the town from there), and proceeds to light up a joint. No one really cared, but it was a bit shocking to see someone just light up in public like that, especially in a state where it isn't yet legal.

So, besides ganja girl, I'd call this a success. There's not a lot of hookah bars in Charlottesville, but this is a very good one, and I'd recommend it if you're in the area, though be aware that you will not be served unless you ask.

nice review. On a side note did you ever find out if argalini was shut down or not? Im going down to richmond friday to pick a friend up and would like to got to a hookah lounge. Also isnt there a hookah bat that offers tangiers? If so do they sell them too?
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So this is my second time hitting up this lounge, but the last time was probably 6 years ago.  I went with the same awesome friend for some awesome catch-up time.

 

The Tea Bazaar is a strange place in a strange town.  Located in Charlottesville's Downtown Mall, it's easy to miss, were it not for their pop-up sign outside.  Climb up the steps and you enter what looks like "hippie heaven."  There's a tree carved into the wall with all kinds of openings, tea everywhere, and... a really confusing layout.  Is it a hookah lounge?  Is it a coffee shop for the "enlightened?"  It's a strange vibe, but it goes with the town.  If I had to describe the decor throughout, I'd certainly call it an Indian bazaar, with all kinds of knick-knacks and oddities everywhere, low-seating tables, etc.

 

Hookahs are $15 (about the max of what I'd like to pay), but mixing flavors is $2 (really?!?), and the "premium" flavors are $3 more.  I asked what the "premium" tobacco was (afraid that it was Starbuzz or something), but it's actually AF, and the hostess recommended we don't get it because people don't often buy it, and so it's a little more stale than their standard (Al Tawareg).  Worst sales pitch ever.

 

We ordered a mix of orange cream and mint.  We then found out that we were there for "hookah happy hour" (at 7:30 at night... Charlottesville's a weird place), so it was half off.  $17 hookah for $8.50.  Now we're talkin'.

 

Since you cannot actually smoke in their main room, we ventured out onto the patio.  There's another inside room, but there was a guy in there looking like he was writing his entire college dissertation, so we figured we'd sit outside on the patio.  Small, but about 6 tables.  You could fit about 25 people out there total.

 

After about 5 minutes, out came the hookah.  Wind cover on top, Egyptian bowl, and natural cube coals.  I have no clue what kind of coals they were, but they only started to die out around 10 PM.  The hoses were just standard, non-washable hoses with a "python" mouthpiece.  I, then, kicked myself for not bringing one of my hoses.  But, oh well.

 

The hookah was pretty much spot-on, but the staff left something to be desired - we were never checked on, offered additional coals, offered to turn the coals, or even to bring water for us.  You have to go inside if you need anything, and that's pretty lame.

 

Otherwise, one "strange" event happened - three tables were seated on the patio, probably 10 people total or so.  A girl comes out, surrounded by people she didn't know, sits in the corner and faces the patio's fence (you can see the sky and the top of the town from there), and proceeds to light up a joint.  No one really cared, but it was a bit shocking to see someone just light up in public like that, especially in a state where it isn't yet legal.

 

So, besides ganja girl, I'd call this a success.  There's not a lot of hookah bars in Charlottesville, but this is a very good one, and I'd recommend it if you're in the area, though be aware that you will not be served unless you ask.

 

Nice review doug. I've been to that place myself too. I lived in Chancellorsville for 9 months at one point.

 

Have you see this too: http://www.hookah.org/twisted-branch-tea-bazaar-hookah-lounge/

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Seems like a pretty chill place, odd that they serve that tobacco and then AF is the "premium" lol But whatever. Here its pretty common place to see people smoking weed in public, but it is legal for medial use here. Though no one will ever really ask you for proof anyway lol

 

Lounges here are actually being forced to close down soon, there are really only 1 or 2 remaining and they serve herbal, but the government says no thats not good enough, so they have to close up shop. Sad days ahead for shisha in BC, and maybe all of Canada.

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nice review. On a side note did you ever find out if argalini was shut down or not? Im going down to richmond friday to pick a friend up and would like to got to a hookah lounge. Also isnt there a hookah bat that offers tangiers? If so do they sell them too?

 

You know, I drove by there today, though it was at like... 7:30 this morning (yesterday morning?).  It looked about the same, though I could see some furniture had been moved around, so I'm assuming a presence has been there.  It might have just been shut down for cleaning or they took a vacation.  They don't post hours on their door or any signage on their door indicating they will be closed, so who knows.

 

As far as Tangiers, a couple blocks down (west on Broad) is another lounge (I can't recall the name off the top of my head).  They did have Tangiers maybe a year ago, but it looked like their stock was dwindling.  They've been really pushing e-hookah heads, so I dunno.  I refused to go there because they used quick light coals with Tangiers, which is a deadly sin for me.  They did sell Tangiers as well, but their stock was pretty low.  You could give it a shot - if you're going to Argeleny anyway, it's only a couple blocks down.

 

Nice review doug. I've been to that place myself too. I lived in Chancellorsville for 9 months at one point.

 

Have you see this too: http://www.hookah.org/twisted-branch-tea-bazaar-hookah-lounge/

 

I remembered seeing that at one point, but I couldn't find it.  It looks much more beat up now, and I'm pretty sure they're using the exact same hookahs.

 

Seems like a pretty chill place, odd that they serve that tobacco and then AF is the "premium" lol But whatever. Here its pretty common place to see people smoking weed in public, but it is legal for medial use here. Though no one will ever really ask you for proof anyway lol

 

Lounges here are actually being forced to close down soon, there are really only 1 or 2 remaining and they serve herbal, but the government says no thats not good enough, so they have to close up shop. Sad days ahead for shisha in BC, and maybe all of Canada.

 

Yeah, it's not even legal for medical use in Virginia.  And the laws are still very shaky - it's "legal" in some states, and Obama has informed state authorities not to prosecute for small charges, basically leaving an unofficial legality based on a state's vote.  Other states, it's legal to possess but not to sell or buy.  This is how it is in the Capitol (Washington, DC), and Craigslisters will get around by "gifting" product and that they accept donations.  But, for the most part, if it's "legal," it's a state-based ruling, and wouldn't hold up in federal court.  And, state to state, the differences can be so drastic that it's ridiculous.  I'm not a weed smoker, but this needs to just be legalized and standardized.

 

That's sad about the lounges in BC.  I get why they're doing it, but it sucks.  In Virginia, there are laws prohibiting a hookah bar from selling food unless it's a completely separated section of the building with a completely different air conditioning and filtering unit.  But some states have already completely banned them, meaning lounges that may have been open for 30+ years are now closed, and, because of the cleaning necessary to remove any smell from cigarettes that may have been smoked in there, those buildings will just remain abandoned.  It's sad, especially when it's people's livelihoods.

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