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Layla

Tarboosh - Nashville, TN

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This was true a long time ago, but I am editing it to say PLEASE read my update below. This review is no longer accurate. Thanks!

This is the first of three reviews I will write, each covering a hookah bar or lounge in the Nashville, TN area.

Tarboosh

21st and Hayes, West End, Nashville

I'd been a customer here for about five months before I started working here (and that lasted about three months), so it's safe to say I know what I'm talking about here.. ;)

When I first started going there, my first impression of the place was, "Damn... this place is dirty and sketchy... I guess that means it's authentic." I assumed they spent less time on cleaning and more time on important details like hookah and food quality -- and being the noob that I was, once I tried the hookah and some of the appetizers, I thought my first impression had been correct.

But once I became less naiive, I realized the hookah wasn't supposed to scorch my lungs after ten minutes. The problem was that the foil was pressing on top of the tobacco, and the coals were HUGE, making the tobacco burn and dry out entirely too fast. And the server knew better. He was Egyptian and definitely knew what he was doing. He just hated everyone, and wanted people out as soon as possible. (I started to learn all of this while working there.) The manager (and untruthfully self-proclaimed "owner"), however, had no idea what he was doing. The manager has never smoked a hookah in his life and he admitted that to me countless times.

I also learned why the Egyptian server hated everyone -- the college crowd is so annoying. Camera flashes never cease, and the phrase, "This is so going on Facebook!" rang in my ears all night. And that's just when they were sober.

The food is pretty good, though. They make the hummus fresh. It isn't from a can, and you can tell. The tea is also superb, especially for Americans who aren't used to hot tea. But having worked behind the scenes, I know how unsanitary the kitchen and the people behind the counter are. And I'm not the only one who knows. The health department shut the place down 3 times while I was working there.

And while I'm on the subject of unsanitary things, the bathroom was hellish. There was always at least 2 inches of water on the floor. Sometimes it didn't flush. There was no lock on the door. I've been walked in on more than once. Not pleasant. The owner was just too cheap to fix it. Speaking of being cheap, watch out when he charges you, because he'll "accidentally" overcharge, and if you don't catch it, he certainly won't.

And if you're a female customer, you have to watch out for the groping hands of the "owner". Believe me. I would have pressed sexual harassment charges if there had been proof that I was working there. But there were never any 1-9s or W4s. Nothing.

From what I've heard lately, the Egyptian server got fired, then the asshole manager got fired, and they have an all-Arab staff that actually know how to handle things.

If they invested in some good plumbing work, cleaned up their cooking methods, and took the time to prepare the hookahs well (and clean them for once), no one would notice the dust on the windowsills or the cigarette butts on the floor. The middle-eastern decor, the arabic music videos, and the regular Arab crowd (if they started to go there again) would make for a great experience. Who knows? Maybe one day it will happen. (Maybe they've started by now, but I have my doubts.) Until then, there are other options, which I will review soon.

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thanks for the info, I will add them to the Hookah Bars directory as soon as possible. I wish they had websites though. a lot of hookah bars dont have a website/web page

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thanks for the info, I will add them to the Hookah Bars directory as soon as possible. I wish they had websites though. a lot of hookah bars dont have a website/web page

Aladdin's has a myspace, but for some reason I can't find it. If I do, I'll send you a link. There's a Tarboosh in California that has a website. They have the same logo as the one here and everything, but they're not affiliated at all. It's weird. There's no way Funkoush has one, and I doubt the University Lounge has one, but I don't know.

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Shit, I didn't mean to post these all under the same topic. Can I delete the other two? I'll post them again under separate threads.

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I revisited the place, just for kicks. It was a Friday night and PACKED.

Old manager is definitely gone. There is a completely new staff with 2 servers, so service has much improved. But that's not the only think that's improved.

There is a new floor, new decor, it's clean, the manager is friendly, and they are using ALFAKHER tobacco!

I've never seen a place go through a makeover like that.

It's outstanding.

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Nice, it bothers me that these places don't have their own website, so you can see their pictures/menus/etc....

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Guest Mikeybass

I used to live in Nashville, I just recently moved to california.. I used to go to Tarboosh.. your right the place is getto.. I wonder if you served me. I thinking I might have meet you. haha!

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I used to live in Nashville, I just recently moved to california.. I used to go to Tarboosh.. your right the place is getto.. I wonder if you served me. I thinking I might have meet you. haha!

I know, when you said you played music with a Nashville guitarist, I was like hmm..... Maybe?

I worked there from January to May (I think) of last year, took a break, and came back this past winter.

Maybe I did serve you. Do you remember George, the Egyptian guy that did the charcoal?

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Guest Mikeybass

I do remember George. but the biggest thing I remember is the bathroom.

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I do remember George. but the biggest thing I remember is the bathroom.

Oooooh... that bathroom. When we switched management, the bathroom was renovated twice. I still can't say it's 100% safe. I don't think it ever will be. It's kind of like riding a rollercoaster. Not in the sense that the toilet moves like one (although it has a similar feel) but in the sense that everyone tells you it will be scary, and even though you know deep down that you'll come out just fine, you can't help but get the jitters before the ride. But it's still a LOT better than it used to be. I mean, you don't have to go swimming to get there. And it flushes every time.

You're just lucky you're a guy. For the girls, I always tell them not to sit. It's more of a hover kind of thing that works best.

But, yeah, I miss George. Sketchy as anything, but I knew a side of him that he didn't show much, and I miss him.

this is rather entertaining to read

Haha I'm sure it is.

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