As many returning visitors to London will know, the English capital is an incredibly multicultural city that has become a melting pot of diversity over the last few years. Whether staying at hotels near Moorgate London or in the west of the city, the chances are that you’ve come across a street or district that transports you to an entirely different world. Whether it be Little Cairo on Edgware Road or Soho’s Chinatown, there’s plenty to see and do for those who are getting a little tired of “Britishness”.
For those looking to dive into the city’s multiculturalism without leaving the city limits, London’s shisha bar scene is a perfect option for adults looking to kick back and relax. From East to west, the middle-eastern and Muslim culture of London has a distinctiveness that’s hard to find anywhere else. Shisha Bars are often hidden away though, so first-time guests of accommodation in London City might be hard-pressed to stumble upon one. When you know where to look, however, the wealth of shisha bars and restaurants in the city will surprise you.
From busy grills to relaxed oases of calm, these shisha bars are perfect for after work drinks, special occasions and casual hangouts with friends.
What Is Shisha?
Shisha is a traditional method of inhaling flavoured tobacco via a water based pipe that evaporates the substance. Often powered by coals, the water pipe is inhaled and enjoyed as a social activity or leisure activity. First invented in Persia during the 16th century, the hookah became a new method of using tobacco that was formulated after the initial introduction of tobacco to the Mughal Empire by European missionaries.
Aladdin’s Rooftop Shisha Lounge
This dazzling shisha bar in the Ilford area of East London provides up to 200 seats over multiple floors, and is lavishly designed and lit to capture the modern day British-Asian and London lifestyle. With meat grills and vegetable platters available, Aladdin’s rooftop and shisha bar is the perfect evening hangout in East London.
Inspired by North African culture, this beautiful Mayfair shisha lounge offers a wealth of flavours that evolve and develop as new stocks come in, culminating in an extensive menu that can be different every time you visit. Located close to rooms available through the Marble Arch Montcalm Hotel deals, visitors can not only enjoy extensive shisha menus, but also a wealth of couscous dishes, mezze platters, rooftop terrace served Moroccan afternoon tea and much more. With so much to sample and explore in this multi-levelled bar, Momo is definitely one for multiple visits.
Situated near Abbey Road, it’s not The Beatles that draw visitors to this northwest area of Camden, but the laid back atmosphere of Beirut Nights. With its beautiful lighting, Beirut Nights offers rooftop relaxation with a wealth of flavours. Beirut Nights has won awards for its Middle Eastern decor and wealth of high quality flavours.
Moroccan Gardens is an Ilford staple for Shisha lovers and offers a wealth of flavours in a flower-lined lounge that also serves up impressive Halal menus. The beautiful lounge is a late night bar that’s open all throughout the week.
Red Rose Shisha Lounge
Another Ilford gem, in competition with Moroccan Gardens thanks to its rose lined lounge and equally impressive menu of flavours. What makes Red Rose stand out though, is its on trend soundtracks and welcoming atmosphere, screening football games and other sporting events.
Easy to reach from the Montcalm Hotel At The Brewery London City, Huggamug Tottenham is a firm favourite in East London. Expect a different kind of food menu, with burgers and shakes being top of the list, whilst the modern, sleek and flavourful shisha equipment and tobacco flavours make for a change from the usual traditional hookahs and equipment. Huggamug is a shisha lounge with a forward thinking vibe.
The Hart Shisha Lounge
The Hart Shisha Lounge is situated in Southgate and offers a diverse menu of flavours and a hearty collection of burgers on their menu. Taking after Huggamugs modern spin on the shisha lounge, Hart also has lounges in Luton, Bradford and Leicester, catering to the large British Asian and Middle Eastern populations of these areas of the country.
My Shish Waltham Forest
My Shish is tucked away between the forests of Walthamstow and the Snaresbrook area. This Shisha bar has an expansive heated patio and a wealth of flavours, Halal foods and “mocktail” menus. With its traditional menus, My Shisha also brings a modern twist with its chart topping music playlists and party atmosphere, drawing in young locals and Walthamstow tourists alike.
Situated in Clapham, Cafe Cairo is a Turkish themed bar with authentic decor and a cosy atmosphere. Cafe Cairo often puts on theatre, music and spoken word events, adding to its status as a community-driven shisha lounge in the glitzy heart of South London.
Another Mayfair stalwart, Drunch provides hearty Halal meals, cultural fusion cuisine and a mouthwatering dessert menu. Of course, the shisha menu is on par too, but with such an expansive food menu, Drunch goes above and beyond your everyday shisha bar with “avocado sliders”, jerk chicken and many more delights.
What To Expect From A London Shisha Lounge
London shisha bars follow certain rules that are not only controlled by the council of the borough it’s situated within, but often – but not always – by Islamic custom as well. Many shisha bars do not sell alcohol due to it being against Islamic law in many countries in which shisha – or hookah – is popular. Shisha bars must obtain a specific licence if they are allowing shisha use in enclosed public spaces.
Westernised shisha bars may sell alcohol, so if you’re planning to have a drink during your shisha session, it’s worth checking if the bar you’re visiting sells it. Last but not least, as you would expect at any public establishment, practice good manners when enjoying a shisha pipe with your group. Don’t hog the mouthpiece, pass round clockwise and don’t blow shisha smoke in the faces of other people!