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Enjoying an Authentic Shisha Experience in London

Shisha, also known as hookah, waterpipe, or narghile smoking has become an integral part of London’s vibrant cultural landscape. Over the past decade, dozens of superb shisha lounges and bars have popped up across the UK capital, offering visitors a taste of this unique tradition.

If you’re new to the world of shisha, visiting one of London’s many shisha establishments can be an exciting yet slightly intimidating experience. To help you make the most of it, here’s a guide to shisha etiquette, flavors, and history when enjoying an authentic shisha lounge in east London:

The Basics Shisha involves smoking flavored tobacco through a waterpipe. At a lounge, you’ll share a shisha pipe that’s usually placed in the middle of the table with several long, flexible mouthpieces branching out so everyone can take puffs simultaneously.
A tobacco blend called “ma’assel” is burned using charcoal and the smoke gets filtered through water, delivering a smooth, aromatic, and relaxing experience. A shisha session can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours depending on the establishment.

Etiquette & Tips

If it’s your first ever shisha experience, here are some dos and don’ts to make sure you respect traditions:
• Ask staff to help you set up or replace coal. Avoid handling the shisha device without permission
• Gently blow smoke away from other guests. Never blow into mouthpieces
• Place mouthpieces directly on the table when done smoking so others know it’s available
• Inhale slowly and gently to keep the coal burning and avoid getting sick. Don’t pull too hard!
• Sit upright to avoid getting dizzy. Take breaks from smoking by passing your mouthpiece
• Relax and soak in the atmosphere. Chat with your companions between puffs.

Middle Eastern flavors like apple, mint, and rose are classics, but lounges also offer interesting modern fusions like blueberry muffin, tiramisu, and even drinks like cola. Some allow mixing two flavors. Options vary so explore the menu before picking one to suit your tastes.

History of Shisha in London

While shisha has a centuries-old history spanning Persia and India, its popularity boomed in London starting in the early 2000s. Back then, Egyptians and Lebanese expats opened the first shisha spots catering to Arab and North African migrants looking for familiar camaraderie.

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Demand quickly grew among Brits and tourists enticed by the communal atmosphere and alluring plumes of fruit-scented smoke. Before long, shisha overtook pub culture among many young Londoners due to its inviting social magnetism and lack of alcohol, appealing even on weeknights.

Although previous attempts to ban shisha failed, newer licensing regulations have limited opening hours to curb late-night noise. Still, shisha bars remain a vibrant fixture, especially in diverse neighborhoods like Edgware Road and Mayfair which house dozens of excellent lounges.

Authentic Shisha in London

While old-school spots retain tradition with belly dancing and classic Egyptian shisha, other lounges add modern twists with alcohol licenses and ornate interiors reminiscent of Ottoman empires. Marble Arch and the West End also host more upscale VIP shisha bars. Prices vary greatly but expect to pay around £10-15 per shisha pipe.

Keep in mind authentic shisha is meant to be relaxing and social. Don’t rush – order a hot beverage between puffs, chat amiably about culture and life, and soak in the languid, hazy ambience of vanilla-scented smoke and beautiful lighting.

Done properly, an evening at a London shisha lounge can feel marvelously transcendent without any need for intoxication or loud music. You emerge rejuvenated, perfumed in delicate notes of apple or mint. This alone makes shisha culture well worth exploring for both Londoners and curious tourists.

Uneeb Khan
Uneeb Khan
Uneeb Khan CEO at blogili.com. Have 4 years of experience in the websites field. Uneeb Khan is the premier and most trustworthy informer for technology, telecom, business, auto news, games review in World.

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