In 1998 Paymon Raouf, present owner of Paymon’s Mediterranean Café and Lounge embarked on a venture that would bring an entire industry to fruition. He began researching the idea to use a little known cultural practice dating back centuries, into the present and mainstream by combining the water pipe with the modern day food and beverage lounge.
The Hookah, Shisha or Nargileh as it is called in various countries in the Middle East is essentially a water pipe that is used to smoke flavored tobacco. Although several small coffee and tea houses accommodated patrons with water pipe smoking in the US since the 60’s, the Hookah was never used as the centerpiece of its business and especially in a business model that also featured alcohol, international cuisine and American pop music. To say that the Hookah Lounge was a complete departure from the typical cultural tea house is a gross understatement! The fusion of all of these elements along with a Moroccan themed, art adorned interior caused the Hookah Lounge to become the model in which all other Hookah establishments used to create their own hookah businesses.
Many of the early imitators of the Hookah Lounge went so far as to use the color of the paint used on the walls by adopting our signature Hollyhock Red as their very own interior color. Customers began converting rooms in their homes to have their own private Hookah Lounge look.
The Hookah Lounge became so popular in the early 2000’s that it became a generic term used to describe a business that offered Hookahs, alcoholic drinks, food, and music. Paymon quit defending the trade name Hookah Lounge during that time as it became too time-consuming to defend but he still owns hookahlounge.com.
The name Hookah Lounge was first created and registered by Paymon in 2000 and the business started in a cozy, 900 sq. foot room. From this small room an industry was born in the US which saw American companies producing and importing hookahs, tobacco, charcoal and other related products. The concept and mechanisms of the hookah have also evolved and has contributed to the creation of the e-cig and vape industry.
Paymon also set many of the common practices of hookah smoking through information found on the Hookah Lounge website, introduced safety devices to the manufacturers, patented the Hookah Light which sits under the hookah with color changing led lights, coined the term Hookah Master (expert in hookah service) and has made many other contributions to the industry.
The operator of Paymon’s Mediterranean Café and Lounge, Jeff Ecker, has been a strong and influential voice in educating people on various aspects of Hookah smoking along with uncovering the propaganda affiliated with the hookah adversaries. He has overseen the Hookah Lounge since the opening in 2000 and has been a leader in hookah safety and operations.
We are extremely proud to be the first Hookah Lounge in the United States!
Awards & Accolades
BEST OF THE VALLEY
LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL
"Best Bar for Romance"
"Best Hookah Lounge"
LAS VEGAS WEEKLY
"Most Romantic Spot"
"Best Place to Smoke"
"Best Spot to Take a Date"
"Best Hookah Lounge"
"Top Five Happy Hour in Las Vegas"