Crave Cafe & Hookah Lounge

In Tempe, there are lots of hookah lounges serving the college set, but one of our favorites is Crave Cafe & Lounge on Mill Avenue, right next to Harkins Valley Art Theatre. The best day to visit Crave is Sunday, when there are fewer college students crammed into the lounge and several specials, including half-price unlimited hookahs, half-price food menu items, and two-for-one well cocktails (there's lots of free parking around Mill Avenue on Sundays, too).

The décor at Crave is simple but elegant, the service is good, the hookahs are high-tech and hard-hitting, and the food's not bad, either.

The lounge inside Crave is decorated with black leather couches and seats, and textured red walls adorned with several mirrors. There's also a projector that projects TV onto the wall, several plasma TVs inside, and a plasma TV mounted on the back patio, where we sat. A variety of music played on the patio speakers (everything from The Killers and Alice In Chains to PM Dawn and U2) while the Knicks vs. Celtics was muted on the TVs.

​Our hookah arrived in a bucket of ice, which we'd never seen before. But the hookahs at Crave were unlike any hookahs we'd seen before. They were made of metal and hard plastic (with plastic hoses), which some hookah snobs might frown upon. We, however, were blown away by how hard and smooth the hookah hit -- and it did so right off the bat, first hit, no "primer" hits required.

We tried the grape hookah tobacco first. It was potent and fruity, but maybe not as juicy as we would have liked. The molasses taste came through the grape flavor.

For our second hookah bowl, we tried the mint flavor tobacco. It was very crisp and refreshing, without the strange, pasty aftertaste some artificial mint products have.

The only thing we can really complain about is that the tobacco didn't burn as long as some of the bowls we've had at other hookah lounges. But when we're smoking unlimited flavors and bowls for half price, we can live with that.

Crave Cafe & Hookah Lounge is located at 505 S. Mill Avenue in Tempe. Call 480-784-6700 or visit for more information.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea