The New York Times Covers Mocha Hookah in Brooklyn Heights

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

RELATED: What Do You Think About Racked’s Recommendations for a ‘Perfect Saturday’ in Brooklyn Heights?

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.

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  • Frank Ligtvoet

    Maybe. This is however about people.

  • Simon Cranwell

    Well if they’re all like you, I feel sorry for Brooklyn Heights.

  • mike D

    I guess food and smoke laws pertaining to restaurants aren’t an issue with the Times because it is a non american product. There are now two sets of laws in NYC, one for foreigners and one for New York City owners of legal establishments!

  • BrooklynBugle
  • Frank Ligtvoet

    NYC made laws respecting the diverse communities the city populates. Exceptions are made not to irritate or undermine the majority, but to accomodate the minorities. That is in my opinion a great and welcoming policy.

  • Boerum Bill

    Legalize it, America! Let’s fire up the hookahs for what they were originally used for!

  • Simon Cramwell

    Great pro-cancer stance. With that sort of myopic vision, you’d be OK with female circumcision as well.

  • Frank Ligtvoet

    It is about finding the balance between personal and general interests/morals/traditions. The voice of the majority will not always prevail. Nothing to get angry about.

  • Frank Ligtvoet

    So Bugle, you get along with that confused xenophobe mike D.?

  • johnny cakes

    Send a letter to Andy Cuomo. But please, don’t vote for him.