The New York Times covers Mocha Hookah [183 Atlantic Avenue] today. Brooklyn Heights residents’ first reaction might just be “is that place is still there?”
Is this truly a “neighborhood joint” as the Times’ series suggests? Are we missing something? Apparently, yes. But we’ll get to that after this quote from the Times’ piece:
NYT: “There’s no drama here,” said Melissa Melendez, a student with cheek studs and a smattering of tattoos. Ms. Melendez learned about Mocha Hookah from her older half brother. “He’s half Palestinian, half Puerto Rican,” she explained.
“That’s hot, right?” Meghan Santos, 21, said enthusiastically. After a pause she asked, “Anybody want cheese fries?”
At Mocha Hookah, the eclectic cuisine is part of the draw. In addition to meze plates and traditional Yemeni dishes like lamb ghallaba, the menu includes gelato, cappuccino, even bubble tea.
All of these items populate the table tops, around which sit a mix of first-generation Arab-American 20-somethings, Yemeni men in their 50s, yuppies on a date and fashionable real estate agents.
NY Times photo
Update: The original POV of this post was pointing out that the hookah bar, hardly ever discussed here in comments by readers, was called out as a “neighborhood joint” by the New York Times. Citing the fact that Atlantic Avenue has long been home to Syrians, Lebanese and others from the former Ottoman Empire wasn’t really the point of this one post, but next time we’ll make sure to put more context into coverage like this (especially for infrequent or new readers).
While infrequent commenters didn’t get the point, long time readers David on Middagh and Joralemon did commenting:
David: I’ve popped into Mocha Hookah a couple of times in the afternoon to read the paper with a coffee and a square of spinach pie. The front room was light and spacious, and very relaxing. (I’m not a hookah person, but the mildly perfumed steam from others’ smoking didn’t bother me—watching others smoke is part of experience, as far as I’m concerned.)
Joralemon: I’d guess that unless you enjoy hookah pipes or their second-hand effects, it’s not a place for you (hence, why I haven’t been). But maybe I’ll have to try their delivery. It could be a good alternative to Waterfalls or Tripoli for Middle Eastern food.
However, as one commenter points out, we should have been noting this NPR report about other goings-on at Mocha Hookah. Which wasn’t our aim for this post, but may have been more relevant than our simple curiosity about the hookah habits of our readers.