Now the party doesn’t have to stop when your favorite bar or restaurant closes. Historic Ellicott City’s Ghost Lounge Hookah Bar stays open until 3 a.m. What’s more, the hookah bar, which has more than 50 flavors of water pipe tobacco, is located inside a former tattoo shop that is rumored to be haunted.
“The owner and I went to college together, and we used to hang out in hookah bars all the time,” says manager Bob Burdekin. “We grew up in Howard County, but the closest hookah bars were in Baltimore or Towson. So we thought Howard County really needed one.”
The two decided on Tonge Row (a Main Street offshoot featuring shops and eateries) and opened the hookah bar in the spring of 2012. Ghost Lounge features three levels and outdoor seating, plus food is available from nearby Diamondback Tavern until 10 p.m. Burdekin says the inspiration for the name comes from an alleged female ghost who’s been known to frequent the bar.
“We’ve seen some things happen here or there,” says Burdekin. “When the music is off and all the customers are gone and the employees are cleaning up, they say they’ve heard stuff before. Nothing bad has ever happened, so we’re not too worried about it.”
Hookah originated in ancient Persia centuries ago. A hookah, or water pipe, is used to smoke flavored tobacco, usually in a group setting. Recently, hookah bars have gained a following in the United States; however, it is “not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Hookah is pure leaf tobacco that’s soaked in fruit molasses for about a month,” explains Burderkin. “That’s how you get the different flavors.”
At Ghost Lounge Hookah Bar, there are a variety of flavors, or shishas, available, including double apple, sweet melon, white grape and tangerine dream. Prices range from $20 to $25, and customers must be at least 18 to smoke.
“Hookah is one of those things that forces everyone to engage in conversation,” says Burdekin. “It’s a really nice social setting where you can relax and wind down.”
Ghost Lounge Hookah Bar, 3740 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City, 410-465-6055, ghostloungehb.com.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun