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ih303

Ifrits Hookah Lounge

Ifrits Hookah Lounge

Location: Rapid City, SD

Refreshments: Soda, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and various other bottled drinks

Hookahs: Social Smoke Junior single-hose & Arctic double hose as well as MZ Sirius single-hose

Hoses: Stock hoses

Coals: Social Smoke Japanese Charcoal

Shisha: Starbuzz, Layalina, Nakhla, & Soex

Ifrits is currently the only hookah lounge in South Dakota. Ideally situated on the ground floor of a historic building in downtown Rapid City, Ifrits is central to the Rapid City School of Mines as well as the rest of Rapid including Ellsworth Air Force Base. The space is airy with hardwood floors, track lighting, leather couches, and a bar and tables with granite tops. The lounge is modern while maintaining a cultural feel due to the middle-eastern motif. Air circulation is nice thanks to raised, tiled ceilings as well as multiple ceiling fans. There is a large plasma screen TV on the back wall and multiple speakers around the venue. The atmosphere varies depending on the music – anything from down-tempo electronic to up-tempo rock. Free wi-fi is also available, and hookahs and shisha are also offered for sale. Ifrits is also Rapid City's only 18+ venue.

The prominent brand of shisha offered is Starbuzz which is sold for $15/bowl. They stock a variety of stock flavors as well as some house blends. There are no drink requirements and no cover unless there is live entertainment. Bowls are capped with foil and initial heat provided is generally adequate. Hookahs/bowls are cleaned after every use. Additional coals are supplied at no extra charge.

While the location is great and atmosphere appealing, the service is quite another story. As a regular at the lounge, I have observed a severe decline in overall quality of service and product knowledge. When I first started going, the people there were very helpful and knowledgable. Hookahs were always started, coals always tended, and drinks always topped off. Now, you have to first figure out who works there, as there's never any indication as to who is an actual employee, then convince them to get up and get you what you need. Customers who are not friends of the employees are generally treated as annoyances.

Since they apparently keep no back-stock, they always seem to be out of things i.e. straws, hose tips, tea, various hookah flavors etc. Careless employees have blown two sets of speakers, so now they are down to only one speaker which is very ghetto. There is a complete lack of professionalism as anyone seems able to go behind the counter and help themselves, and there is really no distinction between "employees" and "friends of the owner/owner's friends". The place is always a mess now with overflowing trash cans and dirty hookahs left out all over the place. It's a real downer.

Overall, if you can ignore the terrible service and generally bad, blaring music, it's a good time. The product is good as long as you know your stuff and don't depend on anyone there to tend it for you. The space itself is very classy but is put together more like a restaurant than a hookah lounge, i.e. no low, comfortable seating. Other patrons are generally cool but the employees are very young, cliquish, and care more about being cool then providing a good experience. That said, you'd probably have a better time smoking at home.



Overall Rating: 8/10 four months ago, 3/10 now

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Yeah, place has gone downhill.

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Edit: Since my initial review, I have been back a few times and have given up on it completely. The last time I was there, I ordered a bowl of pina colada layalina. Here's what happened:

1) It was brought to my table with only two partially lit japanese coals with most of the silver coating still on making the first pull purely chemicals not to mention it was no where near enough heat to get it started.

2) The base had way too much water.

3) The bowl was packed so tight that when I took it off to test airflow, I couldn't get any air whatsoever to pass through.

4) The foil was put on half-assed and was all wrinkled and saggy,

5) When I tried to purge the hookah, I found that the bearing was stuck due to it having never been cleaned and covered with filth. I got pissed and blew really hard into the base causing the water to come up through the stem, blasting off the foil and soaking the coals.

At this point, ihcake took it to the owner and told her it was shit. The owner told us she would fix it and brought it back a few minutes later. When we got it back, it was still packed too tight and the coals made it taste like I was smoking an exhaust pipe. We gave the new hookah to some other people at our table, paid, and went home to have a quality smoke.

I might mention we observed no one in the entire place getting any decent smoke. Unfortunately, most of them have probably never had any experience with hookah outside of Ifrits so they don't know any better.

I have given this place chance after chance. I have talked to the owners and made suggestions. I have come to the conclusion that they simply don't care.

I therefore retract my 3/10 rating and issue an updated 1/10 rating. That point is rather generous and is given simply because the space itself is, while very dirty and unkept, still kind of nice.

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UPDATE!

There may be hope for ol' Ifrits after all. The gods have smiled upon us allowing myself and ihcake to take over operations for the entire establishment. There is much on my plate to do in order to improve on the level that I'd like to. Last Sunday, Cake and I spent ~11 hours cleaning and rearranging including disassembling all the hookahs and cleaning them. (They looked like they had never ever been cleaned bad.gif )

Monday was the first night of the new regime since we fired everyone who had worked there previously. Our efforts were rewarded, and we doubled sales the first night! As long as we are there, there will never be a bad smoke ever again. It's amazing how much proper packing, covering, and heat management can change a smoking experience. We have had many compliments and hope to continue this upward trend.

We plan on replacing all the hookahs with QT's this week. We are blowing out all our Layalina for $5 a bowl in order to make room for AF. When all is said and done, we will be serving SB, Nak, and AF with CH Natural coals. Thanks for John for giving us some great prices. Stay tuned for more updates and if you're ever in South Dakota, come check us out! Edited by ih303

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The lounge has failed us again!

After three months of hard work from ihcake and myself, the owning family decided they didn't want to pay us anymore. They put the lounge back into the very incapable hands of the original "owner" who is willing to "work" for free. (the quotes denote extreme sarcasm) She reinstated her goon-squad of incapable employees and proceeded to trample upon everything we tried so hard to establish and maintain. The place is a joke and a huge let down to anyone who knows or cares anything about hookah.

So, if you are ever in South Dakota, don't bother going to that lounge. You WILL be sorely disappointed. Shoot me a message and we'll enjoy a quality smoke together, AT MY HOUSE!

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Yet another NEW UPDATE!

I have good news and better news. The good news is that Ifrits finally went out of business. I don't want to get into the details because I'm sure you don't want to hear me bash the previous owner and her goon friends for the next half an hour. The better news is my partners and I bought it!

Since we have purchased the business, we have been busting our humps to bring it to it's full potential. It is clean once again and is back to being a lounge rather than a frat house. We've installed dynamic LED lighting behind the bar and a PREMIUM soundsystem. We're completely updating our menu - getting rid of flavors that didn't sell and adding new flavors that will. We're going to start offering a "premier" line of hookahs (KM's to be exact) with phunnel bowls and premium hoses. And - wait for it - we are going to start offering Tangiers Lucid flavors!

In the works we have a possible move to sell beer/wine, opening during the day for lunch, and offering full service coffee/espresso. Tons of ideas, low low overhead, all we need is to keep business steady and we're golden.

So, if you're in the area, it is once again safe to give ol' Ifrits a go. We're on St. Joseph Street between 7th and 8th by the big US Bank. Ask for Ian!

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Just to update, we are currently serving 36 kids of beer. Our tobacco selection includes Tangiers, Al Fakher, Nakhla, and Starbuzz. We serve/sell KM, Mya, and Temsah hookahs. Come check us out. :)

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hmmm...don't see any TDY's to Ellsworth in the near future....

but, i'd like to visit Ifrit's one day....

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