Noticed that there were no reviews of any of the Hookah Bars in the Washington DC area - which is weird cause there are like 10 or 15 of them in Adams Morgan alone. Anyway this review will be for Soussi - which has been rated the best Hookah Bar in DC for several years in a row (mostly cause the others dont really try imo)
Location:[/b] Adams Morgan (between N California St & N Kalorama Rd)
[b]Address:[/b] 2228 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
[b]Contact: [/b](202) 299-9314
[b]Hours:[/b] Opens everyday at 5 and closes between the hrs of Midnight, 1, and 2 depending.
The restaurant is split up into three distinct areas first the [b]outdoor patio[/b] - which is very nice especially in the summer time. It isnt too big that too many people are surrounding you nor is it or too small that it feels crowded and awkward. It is also a great place to people watch (srsly the drunk crowd in Adams Morgan - hilarious) Then there is the [b]main floor and bar[/b] - which also houses the kitchen. While Soussi IS a Hookah bar you have a lot of locals who come to the bar just to drink (lightly - you dont get heavy drinkers at Soussi) and socialize - luckily they only ever stay downstairs and in the bar area - away from the patio and the upstairs lounge. This could be because the bar tenders at Soussi are boss - and are pretty awesome when it comes to bar tricks and flare. The layout of the main floor is very narrow and it gets crowded fast. But if you can grab one of the window nooks they are pretty much the bees knees - you get the excitement of the bar and at the same time are cut off from the rest of the crowd. Just pass the main floor you have the stairs leading to the [b]upstairs lounge[/b]. Now the upstairs lounge is the most desired place in all of Soussi for the Hookah smokers - its done in traditional Moroccan decor and has nice low lighting. The only down side is that sometimes it gets a bit crowded and with the way the seating works your group could easily merge with the ones next to you. While most of the time I am okay with this - sometimes its not what I am looking for.
(Note: They do not take reservations. And on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, unless you get there around 6 - expect to wait. Also for any one who smoke cigarettes, you can only do so outside in the patio in accordance with DC Law)
Soussi, surprisingly enough takes its self seriously as restaurant as well as a Hookah Bar - This could be due to the fact that the Moroccan born owner, Jamal Sahri, also owns U-topia (an award winning restaurant) as well. Most people I have noticed in my time there don't know what to make out of the menu at Soussi - I mean who goes to a Hookah bar expecting to order Calamari, Cocktails, and Wine, or even Smoked Norwegian Salmon and Brochette?! But trust me the food is good! Even though it is a Hookah bar they do not skip on the food or its quality. Many locals now come to Soussi early before the crowd arrives to eat dinner and then enjoy a nice Hookah or two after. If restaurant food isn't what you are looking just order your hookah and a side a fires and your set!
Also they killer Moroccan Mint Tea and Turkish Coffee, and their Lamb Couscous is to die for!
[b]Food Prices:[/b] Appetizers: $4 - $10, Entrees: $15 - 20, Drinks: $3 (Soda) $6+ (Cocktails)
[b]Note: 18.5% Gratuity Added to Parties of Five Or More [/b](this is less than most places in DC which charge 20%)
They have a mix of Mya and Egyptian Hookahs and I am pretty sure they use Nakhla (based on the fact that I use Nakhla most of the time and the taste is almost exactly the same and you ALWAYS get what my friends and I have started calling the "Nakhla Buzz" every time we smoke at Soussi)
Also if there is ANYTHING wrong with your hookah just tell your server and they will bring a new hookah no questions asked. If your coal needs replacing they do it free of charge (Some people say they charge (1$) for it - but I personally have never been charged for that).
[b]Hookah Prices: [/b]$12 Per Hookah ($16 for premium flavors), $7 Head/Bowl Change, $1 Coal Change (?)
What I love most about this place is the feel of it is it totally chill and laid back, the people who work there are really nice (once you get to know them - many people complain that the staff is stand-offish but they are understaffed, they have like 3 or 4 waitresses working the whole restaurant ... srsly give them a break) Also you can stay for as long as you like - the wait staff will never try to kick you out, they also don't hoover and bother you and let you enjoy your hookah in peace. Also no matter how busy they make sure to get you your Hookah right after you order it.
....Down sides. Because they are understaffed sometime food orders and drink orders can take a while to get to you. If you want to pay there are time when u have to go and seek out your waitress to tell her to get the check (I dont mind this so much but some people do) At times is can get a bit loud and crowded - sharing your seat with you neighbors can be fun but sometimes as I said before you just want to chill with your own friends.
But I think my biggest pet peeve about this place - is that before they use to play Arabic pop-music and for some unknown crazy reason they have switched over to American pop music...it kinda kills the feel. But its not too bad as they dont start playing it until around 9 or 10 at night.
[b]Soussi Restaurant:[/b] 4 out of 5
Peace, Love, and Lollipops