Blowing Smoke: Downtown Circle Opens Hookah Bar

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – With all the redevelopment in downtown, Downtown Circle owner Al Adi knew he wanted to play a bigger role.

On July 10, that expanded role – a patio, lounge and hookah bar – opened in the back of the store, 116 W. Federal St. Patrons can smoke inside the lounge and outside on the patio.

“Mediterranean food is fresh food and healthy food. It goes popular here, so I figured I’d give people a bigger selection and give them the space to sit down and enjoy their food,” Adi says.

In addition to the fare offered at the typical convenience store, Downtown Circle has a hot-foods section that offers Mediterranean food such as gyros and falafel.

Making the space unusual among other downtown businesses is the hookah bar where customers can sit and draw flavored tobacco smoke drawn through water.

“It’s part of the culture of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It’s becoming popular around the world,” the storeowner says. “If you go to bigger cities, you’ll see that hundreds of hookah bars have opened up in the past couple years.”

Adi added a full-service bar, a fireplace, booths and TVs to give the bar a relaxed atmosphere not unlike other restaurants downtown.

“It sits people down, lets them relax and allows them to socialize together,” Adi says. “People seem to enjoy the patio. They can sit out here, smoke hookah, have a drink, socialize and eat. It’s really opened up a whole new variety of things for them.”

And so far, the response has been much greater than he expected, Adi reports.

“People are loving it. We were very busy the first weekend we were open. Fridays and Saturdays have been jam-packed,” he says. “And we’ve had people down here all day during the week.”

Adi notes that Downtown Circle is the only storefront downtown that offers a breakfast menu. This has helped draw in a new crowd.

“We’re open sometimes until 4 or 5 in the morning,” Adi says, “so even people who work down here can come in and sit down and socialize when they can.”

Pictured: Al Adi, owner of Downtown Circle, opens his hookah bar.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.