Guess Hookah, a Ukrainian Village hookah lounge/retail store, is definitely not your typical night-out destination, but that is precisely its appeal. There aren't too many places in Chicago where arriving makes you feel like you never left your apartment. From the outside, Guess Hookah looks like little more than a store selling pipes, t-shirts and knick-knacks, but just beyond lies a lounge decorated with colorful red couches, eye-catching artwork and TVs, a home-like setting fit for enjoying one of the lounge's 50 hookah flavors.
Want to try the mint chocolate, but ordered the mango? No fear, ask your neighbor. The intimate setting of the lounge makes it easy to make friends with those around you. Luckily, it's not too intimate: When you order your hookah you are provided with your own sterile tip to keep germs at bay. Non-smokers may be interested to know that hookah tobacco contains no tar and .5 percent nicotine, packing much less of a harmful whallop. As a bonus for non-smokers, Guess Hookah is entirely cigarette and cigar smoke-free, so as not to interfere with the smooth, sweet-smelling smoke that seeps from the hookahs.
Located in the eclectic area of Chicago Avenue in the Ukrainian Village, the crowd varies from night to night, though it often sways to the under-21 set looking for a spot to hang. The lounge shows movies during the day and music DVDs at night, which can be requested from the menu. Board games are available, as well as wireless Internet access for those looking for a little flavored tobacco pick-me-up while they do their work. Guess Hookah is BYOB, but it does sell some non-alcoholic beverages. The lounge can be rented out for private parties.
Centerstage Reviewer: Ann McDonald