What Types Of Accessories Do Hookah Lounges Use?
Welcome to the third installment of our hookah lounge related blog series! In the first two parts, we've explained how to prepare your home sessions like a hookah lounge as well as the different types of hookahs used in a lounge setting, and now we're here to talk about the different types of accessories that can commonly be found in hookah lounges!
If you're new to hookah, looking to learn more about the inner workings of lounges or shisha cafes, or just wanting to replicate those lounge sessions at home, then you're in the right place! Our goal is to educate shisha smokers on the methods and equipment used in professional lounge settings to help provide a starting point in building your ideal home hookah setup.
What Types of Hookah Bowls Are Used in Lounges?
A hookah bowl, or sometimes referred to as a “head”, is the piece that sits at the top of the hookah (in most cases) and holds the actual flavored shisha tobacco itself. The bowl (in conjunction with shisha and charcoal) is where the actual smoke/ flavor comes from during a hookah session and will come in a variety of materials, shapes, sizes, and colors.
Due to the immense variety that bowls are available in, it'll of course be impossible for us to say that all hookah lounges use the exact bowls we'll be talking about today, however based off our experience in going to hookah bars, we're confident in saying that they are the most common ones being used in the USA.
Egyptian Hookah Bowls
Despite the many, many options available, the most common bowl found in a hookah lounge is the brown Egyptian clay bowl! Egyptian style bowls are one of the most traditional types of hookah bowls still available on the market today and typically come included with Egyptian made brands such as Khalil Mamoon hookahs. Seriously folks, these bowls have been a staple in the hookah market for decades (if not longer).
They are typically characterized by a brown glaze exterior (though occasionally other colors can be found) and feature a basic, traditional “dish” design. The dish of the bowl contains 4-5 small holes at the bottom that allow smoke and air to be pulled from your bowl and through your hookah.
So why do hookah lounges commonly use these bowls? Well, that’s a tough question to answer without generalizing *too* much, but our theory is 1) they’re inexpensive, 2) they provide relatively good sessions, and 3) as we mentioned before, they actually come included with many Egyptian hookahs right out of the box! If you’ve purchased a Khalil Mamoon hookah anytime within the last decade, there’s a 99.99 percent chance the bowl it came with was none other than an Egyptian clay bowl.
Vortex/Phunnel Hookah Bowls
Stepping away from the more traditional style of Egyptian bowls, some hookah lounges may be using some upgraded styles of bowls such as Vortex bowls or "Phunnel" hookahs bowls. That being said, they are less common than the standard Egyptian bowls we spoke about above in terms of lounge use.
The main concept of these types of bowls is that, instead of placing 4-5 smaller holes at the bottom of the bowl dish, they will have some sort of raised "spire" in the middle of the bowl that contain the holes. In these styles, you would pack the shisha AROUND the raised center spire rather than over the top of the holes in the traditional bowls.
This design helps prevent liquid flavoring/juice from your shisha from dripping out of your bowl and into your hookah which can cause your sessions to be shorter and less flavorful. Vortex and phunnel bowls keep that juice in your bowl which can result in better tasting and longer lasting smoke sessions.
While the design concept of a vortex bowl is basically the same as a phunnel bowl, there is a key difference: hole placement! The vortex style bowls will have a closed top with several smaller holes around the sides of the spire. Phunnel style bowls will contain one large hole at the top of the raised spire instead of smaller ones along the side.
These styles of hookah bowls can definitely be found in lounges or cafes, however in our experience they are typically much less common than the standard Egyptian bowls due to the fact that they're typically a bit more expensive. Many hookah bars that do use these upgraded accessories will often offer them at an "up charge" or an extra fee.
There are countless hookah bowls on the market that might fit these descriptions, however some of our favorites are the V4 vortex hookah bowl, the Gambit phunnel bowl, the Retro Harmony phunnel bowl, and the Alpaca Bowl Company "Rook" phunnel bowl.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention fruit bowls! These types of hookah bowls have become immensely popular, especially in lounge settings, and for good reason!
Fruit bowls are exactly what the name implies: a hookah bowl made out of a piece of fruit! Shisha smokers realized that you can replace a traditional hookah bowl with a carved out piece of fruit (such as an apple, orange, or pineapple) for an even more unique hookah experience and lounges adopted the idea to provide a new type of session for their customers (though usually at an up charge).
Using a piece of fruit as the bowl to hold your shisha flavors while you smoke has several benefits: 1) the natural taste of the fruit will add extra flavor depth to your shisha tobacco sessions, 2) clean up is typically easier since you can just throw the whole fruit away, and 3) they can look incredible!
There are tons of different methods used when making fruit bowls, and everyone has their own technique, so while we won't be going through a step by step instructional process on making a fruit bowl in this blog (that'll be its own dedicated write up), we did want to at least mention them here due to their prevalence in hookah lounges and shisha cafes.
What Types Of Hookah Hoses Are Used In Lounges?
Moving on from bowls, let’s talk about another hugely important accessory: the hookah hose! I’m going to be honest with you, talking about hoses used in a lounge setting will be tricky.
Hoses are an accessory that offer a HUUUUGE variety in styles, draw, and washability, and in our experience, the hoses being used are typically different in each and every lounge out there. But we’re not here to *not* talk about them, so let’s get to it!
In both the past and the present, the hoses that are used in many lounges are simply the ones that originally came with the hookahs they’re using. Khalil Mamoon Signature hoses (the hoses that come with KM hookahs) are a common style to find in a lounge setting and are characterized by a long hose handle with two cloth “puffs” at either end as well as a plastic mouthpiece (and possibly some Arabic script).
Some lounges may also use hoses that feature a short, wooden handle (that may or may not have a small metal mouthpiece at the end) and a synthetic leather hose tubing.
These styles of hoses certainly do the job, however it is questionable whether or not hoses used in lounges get properly cleaned, or if the ones they’re using can even be cleaned in the first place, as many hoses can rust if exposed to water. Inhaling rust or oxidation from inside your hose is NOT something you want to be doing in any circumstance.
Hookah hoses are the main accessory that gets “stained” with flavor and residue, so in our opinion, having a washable hose is one of the most important factors in having a pleasant session. Though, to give credit where it’s due, many lounges have started to see the importance of having clean hoses, and there has been an explosion of lounges transitioning over to washable hoses in just the past couple of years.
The first washable hose came on the market back in 2010 in the form of the Nammor hose, and since then we’ve seen a new wave of washable accessories become available. Most of the modern hoses being created nowadays are what are called “silicone hoses”, and are made using medical-grade silicone tubing with some form of aluminum or stainless steel handle, though there are some washable hoses made from plastic or other materials.
Depending on your local lounge or your overall experience with hookah bars, this more modern style of hose may seem unfamiliar to you, however we HIGHLY recommend picking up a washable silicone hose whether or not its something that the lounge uses. Being able to run hot water through your hose and wash out "ghosted" or stained flavors is paramount to having a clean, flavorful shisha smoking experience.
While there is a wide variety to choose from, we recommend something like the Ripper silicone hose, Aluminum Dream hose, or Galaxy silicone hose. And even if you don’t spring for a silicone option, having any sort of washable hose is critical in making sure your smoke sessions provide a clean flavor that tastes great.
Ice hoses for hookahs are another very common accessory that can be found being used in a lounge! Basically, an ice pack that you can freeze is incorporated into the hose and is used to cool the shisha smoke even further as it travels through the hose. This can result in a smoother, more enjoyable smoke session (especially on hot days) while providing a unique way to experience shisha.
Ice hoses are made in a variety of styles and can come in the form of an entire hose, such as the Mya Freeze hookah hose, or as a simple attachment, such as the Mystique Ice Tip. If your local lounge does offer an ice hose or ice tip option, it will likely not be the "default" hose you receive and will instead be an up charged item that you specifically request.
Bowls and hoses are the two most important accessories when talking about hookah lounge set ups, however there are a number of miscellaneous accessories on the market that, while uncommon in lounges, are still worth mentioning.
Heat Management Devices (HMDs)
Heat management devices, sometimes referred to as "HMDs", are essentially devices that were designed to eliminate the need for aluminum foil when preparing a hookah session. These devices typically sit directly on top of your bowl and shisha flavors, with the charcoal being put inside, and help to regulate your bowl temperature. To put it simply, HMDs take a lot of the "guess work" out of managing your charcoal while also helping to provide a more consistent, flavorful smoke session.
Now, I can't say that heat management devices like this are exactly common in a hookah bar setting, mainly due to their higher investment cost, however they are occasionally offered at an up charge in some lounges. If you're really lucky, your local lounge might be one of the few out there that only uses HMDs instead of foil!
Heat management devices can come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and materials, however our recommendations are HMDs such as the Kaloud Lotus Plus, Kaloud Lotus 2, the Apple On Top Provost, and the Shishabucks Stratus.
Depending on the atmosphere of the hookah lounge you visit, there might be a colorful array of LED lights on display with the hookahs!
Some hookah pipes will come with their very own LED "puck" or disc that neatly tucks underneath the base and displays a variety of colors and patterns to really light up the base water and smoke. This addition will not really affect the quality of the smoke session itself, however they can add an extra level of aesthetic flavor to your sessions.
While many hookahs have to be specifically designed to be used with one of those LED "pucks", they do make LED mats, such as the LiteUp LEDs, that can be used on any hookah base.
And that should just about cover the main accessories used in a hookah lounge set up! Sure, we could talk about things like the coal trays, glass bases, and tongs, however these pieces won’t really have an effect on how your hookah performs, at least not in our experience. They are mainly used as functional tools, i.e. needing tongs to handle hot charcoal, and will not have any bearing on the quality of your session.
Hopefully we've given you some helpful insight as to the types of hookah accessories used in hookah bars and lounges with this blog, and we hope that you're one stop closer to building your perfect home hookah set up.
As always, if you have any questions about what we talked about today, or just want to get some help in picking up some new accessories, please contact our friendly customer service team and we'll be happy to help!