Hookah lounge opens in downtown Macon

Cherry Street Hookah co-owner Bass Ibrahim said turnout at the lounge has exceeded his expectations since it opened over the weekend.

“We’ve had a lot more people than we thought,” Ibrahim said Tuesday as he stocked shelves with hookahs -- water pipes -- in the downtown shop at 557 Cherry St.

Most of the customers are surprised that alcohol is not sold.

“That’s the first thing they ask for,” Ibrahim said about beer, a local favorite. “That’s not the crowd we’re going for. We don’t need to” sell alcohol.

“We have a very successful (hookah lounge) in Atlanta that does not sell alcohol,” he added.

Ibrahim owns Cherry Street Hookah with Ted Bahhur, former Clark Atlanta University head football coach. The men also own House of Hookah, 398 14th St. in Atlanta.

Bahhur said patrons are not allowed to smoke cigars or cigarettes in the lounge.

Store hours are 4 p.m.-1 a.m.

Native to India, Pakistan and the Middle East, a hookah is a single or multi-stemmed water pipe used for smoking flavored tobacco.

With many patrons being hookah first-timers, Ibrahim said he’s been recommending the blueberry mist.

Cherry Street Hookah is the third business that offers hookah, or hookah-related products, to open downtown within the year. The others are Red Light Tobacco, 362 Second St., and Roasted Cafe & Lounge, 442 Second St.