Hubbly bubbly: London's best Shisha Pipe cafes and bars

London has more venues where you can puff away on a hookah than you might think. We've put together a list of some of the best...

This was the most highly prized of all smuggled suitcase contraband for 14 year old boys returning from a holiday in Turkey (this and nudy playing cards). Nobody really knew what it was for or how to use it, but one thing was for sure: it looked cool as hell on a shelf in your bedroom.

With origins in India and Persia, a hookah is apparatus for smoking flavoured tobacco in which the smoke passes through a water basin before inhalation. It is customary across north Africa, the Middle East and the sub continent for shisha pipes to be smoked recreationally and socially with drinks and food.

With its rich mix of nationalities, bringing with it diverse and eclectic customs London has more venues where you can puff away on a hookah than you might think. We've put together a list of some of the best...

Sara Cafe Shisha & Sandwich Bar -London
13A Crawford Street Marylebone W1U 6BZ
Region: Marylebone
Nearest Station: Baker Street (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Their website neatly tells you that they offer the ‘best shisha in London’, which makes it very easy to recommend. Located in Shisha Mecca, Edgware Road, Sara Café isn’t lying. It offers an excellent range of flavours and shisha styles plus extra incentive like Iraqi tea. Try the Starbuzz mixes.

  • USERS 8/10
Mamounia Lounge
136 Brompton Road SW3 1HY
Region: Knightsbridge
Nearest Station: Knightsbridge (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Arabic fusion food, exotic cocktails, decadent interiors and shisha; Mamounia is a true destination souk. Located on Knightsbridge, the well-dressed tables and eclectic ornaments area a draw before one even steps up to the hookah pipe.

  • USERS 9/10
Hookah Lounge
133 Brick Lane E1 6SB
Region: Spitalfields
Nearest Station: Shoreditch

AIL Says: The Hookah Lounge is part shisha bar, club and music venue and as you would expect, given its Brick Lane location, it is extremely popular. Expect to find a queue for the hookah pipes, however, while you wait you can indulge in the excellent mojitos and the thumping base of European hippy-dance music.

  • USERS 9/10
Momo Tea Rooms
25-27 Heddon Street Mayfair W1B 4BH
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Piccadilly Circus (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: The handsome Momo Café is one of London’s most popular souks. Thanks to a wide range of tobaccos and a food menu that combines contemporary and classic Middle Eastern and North African dishes, Momo Café attracts a healthy mix of tourists and Londoners. Its central location a short hop from Oxford Circus is also a bonus.

  • USERS 9/10
Al-Dar I
61-63 Edgware Road W2 2HZ
Region: Paddington
Nearest Station: Marble Arch (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Located on Edgware Road – where else – Al Dar has been serving the community its Lebanese delicacies for over 12 years. The grilled baby chicken is sublime and you can’t leave without trying the haloumi starter. Al Dar is much more than just a quick-stop shisha spot.

  • USERS 5/10
Levant Bar & Restaurant
76 Jason Court W1U 1JJ
Region: Marylebone
Nearest Station: Bond Street

AIL Says: Levant is located off Wigmore Street, a quiet stretch of road tucked behind Oxford Street to the west. The dimly lit, exotic environment is a perfect respite from the bustle of Central London. Sit down at the Mezze Bar, enjoy the incredibly decadent interior and partake in shisha on the terrace.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
  • USERS 5/10
El Cantara
45 Frith Street W1D 4SD
Region: Soho
Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: El Cantara specializes in both Moroccan and Spanish food at its Soho location on Frith Street. The food is good quality, the décor plush and the combination of the shisha pipes on the terrace and belly dancing in the red room makes it much more than another central London restaurant.

1-3 Fernlea Road SW12 9RT
Region: Balham
Nearest Station: Balham (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Huge chunks of skewered lamb, exotic chilled juices, excellent mezze and a terrace that offers the chance to indulge in Shisha and fresh mint tea. That is what you can expect from Zizou Tagine in Balham. Another good reason to be south of the river.


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