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HILLSVILLE — Hookah Hook-up owner Ayman Anwar’s vision for his second Main Street business isn’t hazy at all — he says it’s all about the atmosphere.
The idea to open the smoking lounge next door to his Italian restaurant, Juliano’s, is unique in the Twin Counties, he said. But, he believes a unique attraction is something the town could benefit from.
“Everything’s really classic and everything repeats itself around here,” Anwar said about other businesses in town. “Hillsville needs something like this, really needs something fun.”
Anwar expects the business to open next week.
Originating in the Middle East, a hookah is a water pipe that vaporizes or smokes flavored tobacco. The name is an Arabic word for “jar.”
Because many Middle Eastern countries lack bars that serve alcohol, social smoking at hookah bars and at friendly gatherings is a popular part of the culture.
Anwar likened Hookah Hook-up to a coffee shop — a place where people can hang out and relax in a comfortable environment.
People will come just to have a good time, meet friends, take advantage of wifi Internet service, listen to live music or a DJ and sing karaoke.
“It’s like a club,” he said, but a club that does not serve alcohol.
The business can serve drinks like coffee and tea and bottled water and juice.
Regulations prohibit any smoking lounge from serving food, but patrons who get hungry can get a meal next door at Juliano’s.
Anwar had friends who ran several hookah lounges in the Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. area. He used to drive 40 miles one-way to hang out there.
“I don’t smoke, but I enjoy the taste,” he says.
Anwar expects that, since Hookah Hook-up will be the only business of its kind in the region, the same thing will happen here — people will come from across the Twin Counties and beyond.
Once people come to Hillsville and see how beautiful it is, they’ll want to come back.
Hookah Hook-up will make 45 flavors available to customers, including zero- and low-nicotine herbs and fruits. The cost will be about $11 or $12.
It will open in the evenings, perhaps remaining open until midnight.
The plan for additional entertainment includes having belly dancer Mekkah Jael perform weekly, a TV and a pool table.
It will have a 21-year-old age minimum and the owner reserves the right to refuse service.
“It’s fun to sit and try something new,” Anwar said. “We need to bring people to Hillsville.”
• For more information about Hookah Hook-up, call Juliano’s at (276) 266-3191, visit its Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.