Sultan Hookah Bar
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Sultan Hookah Bar

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We built a cafe worth visiting

When you first walk into Sultan Hookah Bar, you're greeted with bright lights, counter service and the looks of a convenience store. Eh, not exactly what you thought you were getting into. But give one of the attractive and attentive hostesses a chance to greet you and bring you through the curtain, because once you cross that barrier, you'll be instantly transported to a Mediterranean oasis.

Sultan is exactly what you'd expect from a hookah bar: a smoky lounge with a Middle Eastern-flair, comfy mismatched couches and eccentric artwork. Colorful yet dimly lit chandeliers illuminate the room, and house music plays low over the speakers. Don't expect the typical fist-pumping house music; this was more exotic, giving a spiritual and energetic lift to the laid-back atmosphere.

There's a nice selection of fruit juices, smoothies, and tea. You can nosh on $5-sandwiches such as the popular Falafel sandwich, or get a little taste of everything on the $11.99 mixed appetizer. If you're like me and love to share a good app with the table, or just prefer to sample an array of different things, this is ideal. A basket full of warm pita bread, grape leaves and dips including hummus (chickpeas), baba ghanoush (eggplant), and lambda (yogurt) is pretty much perfection on a plate for me.

But enough about the food; let's get to what Sultan is all about: hookah. I've never seen such a variety of flavors before. Chocolate! Cinnamon! Cafe Latte! There are classic flavors like strawberry and peach, but the more daring can dive into mixed flavors and find a sea of mint grape and something called "Pirate's Cave." I don't ever want to know what a real Pirate's booty is supposed to taste like, but this reminds me of gummy bears.

I've never met a piece of chocolate I didn't like, so I went with that, hoping that it really did ring true to that creamy, rich taste of only the best of chocolate bars. As soon as the waitress set down the hookah, I was hit with notes of luscious chocolate liqueur. Even better! The place may not serve alcohol, but this was a great trade off. Hookahs range from $12-16 depending on the flavor you choose. If you're in a fruity mood, you can even order your hookah to come packed in a variety of fruit bowls such as grapefruit, pineapple or watermelon.

The intangibles: Everyone seemed to fit a specific mold, especially the employees. A very relaxed attire and attitude was the norm. Don't be surprised if you find yourself confusing the employees for the clientele. Even though the atmosphere was loose, the service was tight. Our waitress visited our cozy little corner multiple times throughout the night to make sure we were doing alright.

This is a great late night hangout for the 18-25 crowd, especially if you're looking for a cool place to just chill out. Sultan Hookah Bar hosts karaoke night on Tuesdays from 8 p.m. to midnight and on College Party Night on Wednesdays from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Story shared by Shaina Wizov