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Eat & Drink

The top 10 shisha bars in Toronto

Posted by Liora Ipsum / August 17, 2014

shisha bars torontoSharing shisha in Toronto is a social way to relax, whether enjoyed at a laid back cafe or licensed lounge. In Toronto the centuries-old tradition of smoking via hookah pipes is alive and well often available late into the night at clubs, coffeehouses and other Middle Eastern establishments.

Here's my list of the top places to get your shisha on in and around Toronto.

Café Awtash
Enjoy drinks and share shisha at this dimly lit lounge on College at Bathurst. Here, the experience starts with a choice of 17 tobacco flavours like coffee, cherry, or watermelon, and is made better still by the menu of Persian snack foods like mixed olives, dips,fruit slushies, shakes, teas, coffees and a full alcohol menu.

The rooftop patio on King West is as much a high-class hookah destination as it is a party spot (the cabanas lining the lounge come complete with bottle service). The initial set-up and first flavour (of which there are fruity and minty selections) starts at $50.

Roxy Lounge
Try to snag the leather couches at this Scarborough shisha lounge and settle in for a couple sessions coupled with Turkish coffee, tea or Mediterranean snacks. The nargile menu lists flavours like vanilla, kiwi, strawberry, peach, double apple and special house tobacco blends.

Cabana Pool Bar
Shisha, bottle service, tropical cocktails and nibbles are offered in this Polson Pier lounge's cabanas, should you want to get your smoke on in a bikini. Daily hookah rentals start at $35 per day and if poolside lounging takes you from day to night, you might want to re-up with additional tobacco flavours for $20.

Bampot Bohemian House of Tea
Kick back at this tea house on Harbord where the novel entertainments include hookahs, available weekdays after 6pm and all day on weekends. Lounge in the cozy bohemian atmosphere with friends over a cup of tea, and while away the hours over boardgames and tobacco-free shisha in flavours like double apple, mint, lemonade, summer rose and grape, each sold for $13.

70 Down
Clubby and very Yorkville, this newly-opened lounge is a magnet for a lively crowd. Aside from shisha (available inside or on their front patio), expect the bar to be stocked with premium spirits while a resident DJ spins house or top 40.

Over 70 hookahs are waiting to be packed with flavoured shisha ($13.50-$17.50) at this laid-back Middle Eastern cafe on Jarvis. Aside from the water pipes, the cozy coffee shop offers burgers, apps, smoothies, teas and Turkish coffees. While it's not licensed, the place stays open late, encouraging guests to linger until at least 4am on weekends.

Red Nile Cafe and Hookah Lounge
Embroidered cushions and gilt-covered wallpaper sets the scene at this lounge in North York. Open from 6pm to 3am, Red Nile is at its liveliest late at night, when plumes of fruit-scented water vapor fills the dimly-lit room. Choose from 18 flavours, priced between $12 and $15.

Tea Ve See
Recently relocated from North York to a spot slightly north in Vaughan, this upmarket shisha lounge offers a wide range of flavours and blends like the B52, a mix of mint and chocolate smoked in a milk-filled hookah.

Shiraz Shisha
In Richmond Hill, this licensed lounge offers a menu featuring Persian food and exotic shisha flavours. Fresh fruit hookahs are the most impressive. Enjoy watermelon champagne ($15) or pineapple pina colada ($15).

Did I miss any? Let me know your favourite shisha spot in the comments.

Photo of Cabana Pool Bar by Jesse Milns.



iSkyscraper / August 16, 2014 at 11:13 pm
Sorry, but unless we're a nation of hypocrites all of the above should be closed, for the simple reason that hookah is a giant loophole in the smoking laws. It's a serious health risk, it's super profitable, and the result is that every restaurant and lounge is now becoming polluted by them.

Any claims to it being part of Middle Eastern culture (the original reason for the exemption) died out around the time that 20% of all North American teens admitted smoking hookah.

And don't give me that "we use herbal shisha" excuse. So what, you're still sucking down charcoal smoke, which is about as carcinogenic as it gets. There is a reason why Vancouver and all of Alberta ban herbal as well as regular hookah.

Shut it down, now, before it gets even more out of control like it has in New York, where practically every restaurant and nightspot is coated in a thick cloud of hookah smoke.
A replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / August 17, 2014 at 11:50 am
If you don't like it then don't do it, but don't try to prevent others from doing something that is perfectly legal. Many people do things that are unhealthy, eating fast food for example, but surely you wouldn't suggest that every fast food joint should be *forced* by the state to close down. I don't eat fast food at all, or do shisha, but I respect others' right to do as they please in a democratic society as long as they don't hurt others.

Do you seriously believe that "practically every restaurant and nightspot" in NY has become a shisha bar? Surely that's hyperbole. Usually your posts are a good dose of common sense but on this issue you're completely out to lunch.
Dan replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / August 17, 2014 at 12:51 pm
agree with you 100% its time something is done about these establishments in Toronto. Would be happy to see the smoking of sisha indoors made illegal
Bunny / August 17, 2014 at 02:33 pm
Is it possible to get TB from these hookah contraptions? Doesn't seem very hygienic.
Geery Atric replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / August 17, 2014 at 03:16 pm
I agree - what about the children!!!
AK / August 17, 2014 at 06:44 pm
If you don't like it, then don't go. Plain and simple. I love hooka & love that it's offered in TO. Great article! I haven't heard of some of these locations & I'll be sure to check them out. All you nah-sayers, take a hike!
Anna k / August 17, 2014 at 07:02 pm
Concerned Doc ,If Canadian government is going to ban tabaco shisha then it must first ban cigarets,alcohol,junk food and flying on a plane since one hour spent in flight is comparable to like 20 X-rays radiation ...and maybe ban doctors power to write prescriptions like the one who just wrote the last comment because Dr.'s pose more health damage to Canadians by giving away all the prescribed medications, as it is candies. Whats more damaging is the specialists like this doctor are putting kids on anti- depression pills, and overdose with mandatory shots before they reach 10 years of age. I hate when useless and under educated doctors make ridiculous comments, which do not have any scientific merit to it. So go back to school buddy and when you have legitimate facts, and you personally conduct numerous studies come back and write another comment .. Canada is a free country and because of un educated , biased and narrow-minded so called "Dr" as you are, our rights being taken away ... Start thinking outside the box.
Alan e-cig / August 17, 2014 at 09:37 pm
ISkyscraper has it down 100%. These places are legal, they are just quite new in the system and haven't been declared illegal YET. Residents need to stand up against them if that's how they feel. Smoking tobacco was made illegal due to the effects it can have on those that wook in bars, those that live above them and those that just want to go out and have a good time. I'm fine if the habit is dedicated to sisha dedicated bars itself. BUT has the habit and behavior becomes more popular it may start to become accepted indoors at other establishments. Its still frowned upon to smoke e-cigarettes indoors where other non smokers and the youth and kids are around.
LogicalReasoning / August 17, 2014 at 09:47 pm
Oh, Anna.
I hope you're a teenager. But then again, I know many teenagers that can write an effective argument. First, the doctor did not say anything about banning shisha. Secondly, what do all those ludicrous claims about doctors have to do with this issue. Even if they made any logical sense at all, they are irrelevant to the discussion. Hopefully, the next time you're in need of medical care, you don't get one of those 'useless and under educated' [sic] ones that you're being so disrespectful to in your post. As far as scientific merit goes, I think most people would consider a comment by a doctor who links his comment to an actual scientific study a bit more credible than one by someone who uses words they don't understand in an illiterate, rambling and insulting rant.
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from A / August 17, 2014 at 10:48 pm
No, it's not hyperbole. It's a scourge in New York and it will be coming to Toronto next. Where I live, in northern Manhattan, about half of all restaurants now have hookah rentals. It's insane but the money is too good and a generation who grew up not smoking suddenly can and finds it very cool.

If smoking were not banned in restaurants we could all say live and let live, but it is banned, for good reason, and hookah is flouting that common sense. Come back and read this post in a couple years and you will see what I mean.
Remember / August 18, 2014 at 12:54 pm
There's also Habibiz Sheesha Lounge as well.
Faraz / August 21, 2014 at 01:10 am
Heyo - (new) owner of Buda Cafe here. Just a bit of background - although I'm relatively new to ownership, I've been quite involved with Buda Cafe & the "art of Shisha" for over a decade. Given our experience in this domain, I wanted to chime in with my two cents on all the discussions happening here:

1) Dear BlogTo writer - great list of spots & thank you for compiling. Truthfully, I was hoping Buda Cafe would have made it on your list. We've recently added tons of items (non-shisha related), to our menu and just recently launched the new website - so hey, perhaps we'll be considered next time :=).

2) As far as I could see, the PDF report compiled by WHO and shared here only references Tobacco-based shisha products, and not herbal / non-tobacco. What I would personally love to see is a comprehensive, unbiased report on the health risks of herbal Shisha, which is the only type of shisha that is allowed to be served by law in Toronto. But it's really not just about the type of shisha being served - it's also about cleanliness. For instance, we wash our shisha pipes after each and every bowl to eliminate chemical build-up in the pipes and ensure no harshness during use. Is that required by law? No. But we do it because we want to make sure our customers get the absolute cleanest experience around. Point is, some of the onus is on business owners to make sure they're running a clean operation. And I have to say - as someone who prides himself on adhering strictly to the rules and regulations of our Province, I want nothing more than the government to enforce a few stricter regulations so that those who are doing it right (like Buda Cafe) are recognized and that those who are doing it wrong get penalized.

Thanks again for the article & all the discussions around it,

Lisa / September 2, 2014 at 11:16 pm
I love Red Nile. AMAZING SPOT. love the service and the music
Joe / September 4, 2014 at 05:26 pm
I have been at C Lounge they have Shisha now and it's a nice place to sit back have a few drinks and smoke a nice Shisha. Not to forget it's better than 90% of other clubs in Toronto!
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free credit check / September 27, 2014 at 01:25 am
Outstanding qսest there. What happened after?
Good luck!
joe / October 15, 2014 at 04:11 am
I will not get into wether it should be legal or illegal but what I would like to do is introduce you to the new innovated hookah that takes all the health risks from traditional hookah and trashes it. Yes you read that right. You can get yourself an electronic shisha with over 14 flavours that vaporizes. so your not inhaling harmful charcoal/tobacco or any other smoke. its smokeless Vapor just like electronic cigarettes. you can find it on this website they deliver next day from toronto :) cheers i got mine for $150 but they have dropped the price down to $120 now i think
Anthony C / October 17, 2014 at 07:09 pm
In my opinion,if someone wants to smoke hookah,let him/her to do so.Why should we stop people from what they like to do?Besides,all those places pay taxes which we all benefit from.If you say to ban hookah,then we should also ban cigarets and alcohol cause they 're harmful as well!
Karan / November 21, 2014 at 10:48 pm
I just went to this place in Vaughan near York Univ. last week and this place looks promising. I loved their Rose flavour and damn it was good. The place is very decent and they had some good music on. Here is the place:
Ava / December 16, 2014 at 03:35 am
Haze lounge mississauga - shisha reinvented ! / March 26, 2015 at 06:47 pm
So I been reading comments on here and I'm really tired of people worried about hooka and that there children will get harmed ! Wake up call folks your daughter who is probably 18 but with a fake id is at a night club popping ecstasy going home with some 30 year old man that will give her anal for the 1st time and your worried about hooka hahahh good luck
Maggie / April 28, 2015 at 01:00 am
Skyscraper, you seem to oppose these shisha bars, and you want to impose your opinion on everyone. First of all the reason(s) you are attacking these cafes seem to be your own reasons and if you think they are so harmful why don't you look at those so called vapour lounges where people go in and smoke their marijuana. Aren't these so harmful too? Don't you see it as encouraging people to smoke weed. Why is it cool to sit inside a closed room and bring your pot and gather there to smoke a form of drugs?? It looks like you are trying to practice dictatorship while we live in a democratic country. It is a part of our culture and you CAN NOT tell us what is our culture is about. Thank you for your opinion but go check out what goes around in Canada from child prostitution to drug trafficking and many other problems.
MOMO / May 15, 2015 at 05:16 pm
THE PLACE IS LOCATED 2034 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R 2Z3
Ali / June 20, 2015 at 08:19 am
You missed out Hookah King Lounge on lake shore and Kipling. Best Shisha I've ever tried by far. You guys have to go and check it out.
Ryan / June 22, 2015 at 07:09 pm
Limelite cafe in Vaughan missing! Best shisha spot in been too in NORTH AMERICA!
jason / July 16, 2015 at 03:13 pm
Ive been to atleast 10 sheesha lounges and somebare included in this list above but to me hands down the best lounge ive been to for sheesha or drinks or food in general is sheesha lounge located on bloor and ossington a populated area with amazing service and staff and place were you can come with friends or even by yourself and still have a great time so for those who dont no i highly reccomend Sheesh Lounge :)
Houka Narguilé / August 3, 2015 at 07:33 pm
Amazing top10 ! I hope i will go to toronto in my life for test all of this 10 hookah bar. Thank's for your work
Oliver / October 7, 2015 at 08:30 pm
A great Top 10 list, my Grandma lifes in Toronto so now i know what i have to do, if i Travel :D
Hookah Lounge / January 19, 2016 at 04:13 am
Good luck!
Other Cities: Montreal