The shisha craze is sweeping Thailand, and if you find yourself anywhere in this country (especially Bangkok), you’re likely to find yourself in the vicinity of at least a few places specializing in it. The sweet tobacco does have a few hotspots that know how to do it better than others, though. The last thing you want is to head out to a sub-par shisha bar with overpriced drinks and awful hookah. Never fear – use our handy guide to separate the cream from the crap.
Brew Pub at Seen Space
Seen Space is my favorite bar in Thong Lor and is a notable place to go for a bunch of reasons that have nothing to do with shisha. A vast selection of imported craft beers, variety of foods and restaurants make Seen Space one of the hottest nightlife destinations in Thailand already. But Brew Pub contributes to the shisha and drinks scene with the best selection in Thonglor. Going with non-smoker friends? That’s fine – since most of the seating is outdoors, secondhand smoke tends to dissipate in the air rather than hang around. And with the variety of drinks and food available at Seen Space, everyone can get their fix even if you’re the only one who’s actually there for the shisha.
Nine Ball Café & Restaurant
Sukhumvit houses one of the largest Middle Eastern populations in all of Thailand, so it should come as no surprise that it is also a popular place for halal foods, specialty foods, and obviously, shisha. In addition to being a very authentic atmosphere, Nine Ball Café & Restaurant also boasts shisha prices around half of what you would pay in the trendier Thonglor neighborhood. The place does tend to be a bit of a sausage fest, but women are perfectly welcome. Come as you are, get a good price on a traditional hookah experience, and leave happy. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.
Location: Sukhumvit Soi 3/1
Al Majlis (Sukhumvit Soi 21)
Shisha is not generally associated with being high-strung, is it? Nah, it’s about relaxing and chilling the hell out for a few minutes, forgetting about life for a while. Al Majlis does this concept fantastically. Al Majlis means “living room” or “place of sitting” in Arabic, and the layout of the restaurant does not disappoint. Cushy, comfortable floor seating to lounge around and soft lighting make you feel right at home, and then about a half dozen flavors of hookah are available to help you take the edge off. They even have a decent selection of traditional Middle Eastern foods if you don’t want to smoke on an empty stomach.
Also, check out Bombay Blues in Thong Lor.