The East Village is something of a hookah hotspot, with several lounges clustered between Avenue C and 2nd Avenue. It can be hard to know where to go—the northernmost spots are a little too close to NYU and a little too packed with dorm-dwellers seeking a (legal) way to (literally) blow off steam—and a few too many places treat the tobacco itself as an afterthought, peddling cheap shisha and falling behind on coal maintenance. Luckily, TUT doesn’t fall into either of these camps: Stylishly outfitted with exposed brick walls and gentle candlelight, it offers high-quality tobacco in fruity flavors like guava and apple. And unlike many hookah bars, it serves booze: the frou-frou cocktails are best avoided, but a cold beer or dry red wine makes a nice complement to a mellow smoke.
New Yorkers frequently seek vices in liquid form, piling into dive bars, speakeasies and cocktail joints once the weekend rolls around. But there’s another popular pastime that won’t leave you with a raging hangover: hookah. Also known as water pipes or nargiles, hookahs feature tasty smokable (and fully legal) flavored tobacco, and they’re built for crowds, meant to be shared among groups of friends as you sip mint tea (or a higher-proof beverage) and settle into a deeply relaxed state. So this Saturday, forego your usual $16 mixologist-made drinks, pick up a pipe from a smoke shop and opt for a soothing night at a hookah bar—NYC has great spots to pick from.