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Babylon Hookah Lounge, Tampa

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Finally found a lounge that was still open... last year was tough, tried two and they were both defunct. This year we tried Babylon. Atmosphere was ok, kinda relaxed. Struck us for sure as a "locals" kind of place, though there were some kids there who seemed to be college kids from nearby USF.

The young man tending the operation's English was not great, and the menu really leaves a lot to be desired: it suggests that they serve alcohol when in fact they do not.

The hookahs are a mix of KM (the Middle Eastern patrons got those) and Mya. They serve Al Fakher and Starbuzz, though Starbuzz is more expensive.

We asked for Al Fakher coconut and pineapple. We were shortly presented with a Mya hookah (I think) that was a four port, with two of the ports capped, a single hose and the other port had masing tape over it with a hole poked in it. The coals were quick light discs, I don't know the brand but they were crumbly, burned hot and fast. There was no wind cover offered, nor did I see one in use anywhere.

The hookah was redolent of Mint. The true flavor of the tobacco came through after a bit, but between the gaping hole pulling in air and the crappy coals, there wasn't much flavor to speak of. I've never smoked Al Fakher pineapple of coconut, together they were generically sweet without anything standing out.

I was unclear if the half price second hookah was for a coal refresh or a fresh bowl, but we did not really wish to stay longer and find out.

Overall it wasn't horrible, but for me and my friends (who generally smoke my pipes) it left something to be desired. As a local hangout, it seemed comfortable and there were some obvious regulars who seemed at home.

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