Not too far up on Market, was Exhale, a new hookah lounge in the city. My girls and I decided to check it out. Here’s our review.
A little ways down Market, a revamped building that used to be empty has opened named Exhale. I know what you’re thinking, Exhale? Like the infamous Frederick Exhale nightclub from a decade ago? No, my girls and I shared the same sentiment — not sure if the owners of this new and improved Exhale did their homework about that important piece of Frederick history. It is a big name to live up to. But instead of a nightclub, it’s a newly opened hookah lounge. So last week my girls and I head on over after a networking event to unwind and check it out.
On the outside, it looks like a house — until you notice the storefront. It’s a cozy, intimate space with enough seating. The couches actually are comfortable, and have a reasonable a**-to-knee ratio, not sunken in and bare-bottom like most rinky dink hookah spots. The tables were good hand-to-mouth proportions, not too high and not too low.
The vibe is still a lounge feel, with traditional Middle Eastern influence, with the music heard throughout the room, although the lighting is bright enough to actually see faces (without having to wait until 2 AM) and hold audible conversations.
The menus are cute, brief, and simple. My girls and I ordered small app-sized grilled sandwiches and amazing Jasmine tea that we later learned was on the house – compliment of the manager, Jason. A cutie with stellar customer service.
The lounge serves no alcohol. I repeat, no alcohol. So do not expect to get tipsy with bae on date night here, although the atmosphere is perfect for casual meetings and Tinder meet ups.
Right behind us, was a VIP section enamored with a fancy silver sign and even comfier, suede couches. Oooh. We were told private parties can be held there for special occasions and such. Cool. I would think VIP would be more distinguished from the rest of the patrons but considering the size of the lounge, it’s understandably creative.
The decor makes up for the size. There are TVs angled on both walls so all can view no matter where you are seated — always appreciated.
The ladies who welcomed us told us there were apartments above Exhale. It wasn’t long before we heard the footsteps either. Don’t be alarmed.
Upon leaving, we met one of the owners who was extremely gracious and friendly toward new customers. That’s a plus.
To our pleasant surprise, the hookah is cheaper priced than usual! They offer dope fruit hookahs where they put the shell or head of the fruit at the top of the hookah (i.e., watermelon, pineapple) — an interesting, unique display that separates them from the competition. We ordered the basic, pineapple hookah. I, personally, loved it. The hookahs were huge and shiny. It was refreshing from what we’re used to.
Overall, Exhale is a nice alternative hookah lounge downtown compared to its competitor. They have stark differences although offer most of the same products, (hookah, music, food, lounge venue) they are presented in different ways creating a totally different customer experience. We had a good time and will definitely return soon.
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