First post here on the forums, I figured I would do it here. I came to Pitt as a freshmen in '06 and Sphinx was by far one of my favorite places to go on or near campus. A great atmosphere with cool employees to just relax and enjoy a hookah. Well, that was 4 years ago. And boy has it changed since then.
A lot has changed in that place since I was a regular, and now there is a list of reasons NOT to go:
First off would probably be the downright awful service. The employees used to be awesome people who actually knew how to work a hookah and would even sit and talk with you for a moment if it was a slow night and no customers needed coals worked. Now it's a bunch of idiots who wouldn't know a hookah from a (EDITED!). They are rude, they're slow, they're idiots, and frankly they don't seem to care all that much.
Number two I'd say are the ridiculous prices and charges they slap on you. Minimum orders, "smoker fees" you HAVE to buy a drink (gotta say though, the warm honey milk is AMAZING), high prices for mediocre quality shisha etc. They do however have a B.Y.O.B. night with proper ID. Kinda cool, I guess
Then there are the hookah's themselves. Wow, it seems like they haven't replaced any of these since my first visit years back. Kmccoy was dead on with the duct tape thing, I've used that hose before too. The bowls are packed WAY too tightly
I forget what night it is, either Friday or Saturday, but they usually have bands playing there AND THEY CHARGE A COVER! Now I wouldn't usually have a problem with this because being in a band myself I'm all about local music but these are NOT the bands I want to have in a small hookah bar. If you don't know Sphinx is an old church. Not very acoustically sound so everything echoes, A LOT. And the bands they have come in are full, 4 piece bands with obnoxiously loud (and usually bad) drummers. The couple times we've seen a band playing we turn around and go home. This isn't a bar, it's a HOOKAH BAR. . Worst start to a first date EVER was at sphinx because the freakin' band was so loud we couldn't even hear each other, and we were two feet apart!. Give me one guy on a stool with an acoustic guitar playing Radiohead tunes. That's something more appropriate for a hookah bar. I wanna go to relax with a hookah and chat with friends, not have my ears blown out.
All in all I would say avoid that place. There are much better places in the South Side.