When the Hookah Lounge is the first hookah cafe you see in New York, you might think it’s a small speakeasy.
But to most people, it’s the gateway to hookah culture in the city.
“Hookah is the number one trend for hookah bars in New Yorkers,” said John Naughton, a New York-based artist and owner of the Hookahs & Spirits Bar in Harlem.
“It’s all about the hookas.”
Hookahs are now everywhere in New Zealand, from beaches to pubs, bars to hotels, and in the US, even as the industry has taken a major step towards global dominance.
In 2017, New Zealand introduced legislation to require hookah cafes to be licensed and inspected by the New Zealand Government.
The new regulations also make it illegal to serve alcohol to hookahs, although the hookers who are charged with violating the law are not allowed to serve.
And in New South Wales, where the city’s most famous hookah joint, The Bar, opened in 2014, authorities have cracked down on hookah businesses in a bid to curb hookah addiction.
“The New South’s law is a good step in the right direction,” said Hookahs NSW chief executive and founder Mike Gorman.
“Our job is to get hookahs off the streets and into hotels, bars and cafes.”
Hookah cafes are already thriving in some of the most remote and expensive regions of the country.
The most famous of these are the New England Hookah Café in Connecticut, The Hookah Cafe in Vermont and The Hookahs in New Jersey.
“In New England, you can find hookah restaurants on the streets,” said Mike Gormans owner, Mike G. “And that’s a good sign.”
Hookas have also found their way into New York.
A local hookah shop in Brooklyn has been around for more than a decade, and is now part of the main attraction of the popular Harlem Hookah Village.
“We’ve been there for six years now,” said owner Sam Lipsky.
“There’s a lot of new people come in every week.
We’ve had people from all over the world.”
The Hookages and Spirits Bar is now one of the oldest and most successful hookah establishments in the world.
It’s a bar for people from across the world, including New Zealanders.
“If you’ve never been in New New York before, this is your first chance,” said hookah aficionado and owner Sam Naughson.
“You can get there on a Saturday, Sunday or any other day.
And the food is amazing.”
Hookages, like hookahs everywhere, are also thriving on social media.
“Everyone likes hookahs on Instagram, they like hookah videos on YouTube,” said Naughsons Facebook page.
“They are all sharing their hookah stories.”
But hookahs are also flourishing in some other parts of the world as well.
The Hooks & Spirits Cafe in Australia has been a part of Australian life for more that 20 years.
“New York is a great place to hook up with hookahs,” said Gorms owner, Sam N. “I think hookahs have been a mainstay in New England for a long time.”
But now, hookahs in Australia are also becoming a major tourist draw.
The hookahs and spirits bar at the Westfield shopping centre in Melbourne has a massive Instagram following, with thousands of likes on Instagram.
“People in Australia have a big interest in hookahs because it’s such a popular thing there,” said Rylan Clark, the bar’s general manager.
“Australia is the largest hookah market in the Western Hemisphere.”
New hookahs were first introduced in New Hampshire in the 1970s, and were first sold in New London, Connecticut in the 1980s.
In New York City, hookah lounges have also been popping up in places like Chelsea, Long Island, Manhattan and Brooklyn.
“Every hookah in New Rochelle is now a hookah village,” said one of Gormons Facebook followers.
“Some are bigger than the one next door.”
Hooka bars are also being popular on the internet, particularly in the UK.
The UK’s Hookah & Spirits Club has had more than 6,000 Instagram followers since it opened in December 2017.
But the club’s Instagram account is also growing rapidly, and has more than 100,000 followers.
Hookah louzings are popular in some Asian countries, too, including Singapore and Thailand.
A British hookah café in Hong Kong, The Club, has more then 5,000 likes on Facebook, and about 200 members.
In China, there are more than 600 hookah clubs, and more than 300,000 people have joined the Facebook group The Chinese Hookah Club.
“These are some of our favourite hookah venues in the Middle East and Europe