BEST HOOKAH BAR (2003)
King Tut Cafe & Catering
No gyrating belly dancers, no velvet couches. This is just a hookah bar, plain and simple. King Tut, a Middle Eastern restaurant, lounge and de facto cultural center, was around way before the Tempe smoking ban and Gulf War II made smoking hookahs dangerously cool, so, thankfully, it hasn't resorted to becoming a glitzy novelty. The joint is relatively quiet during the day, so gaggles of ASU students stop by to relax and study between classes on the well-worn Persian couches. At night, the action turns up a notch, but only a slight notch. The seemingly endless soundtrack of Bob Marley and anonymous Arabic jams seems just a little louder and the crowd thickens mildly. Perhaps because there are no shimmying distractions, the cross-legged, barefooted patrons always seem to be engaged in lively conversation between each puff of their smoke.