The top 10 shisha bars in Toronto
Sharing 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.