Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

February 13, 2014

Hookah lounge eyes downtown

A Plymouth-based hookah lounge has applied to open a second location in downtown Andover, a proposal that has health officials scrambling to establish local regulations.

Fig and Lux LLC, doing business as Lux Hookah Lounge, filed an application with the Health Department on Jan. 30 to open a lounge and tobacco retailer at 63 Park St. The multi-story retail complex adjacent to a town-owned parking lot is home to a number of businesses, including Domino’s Pizza and the women’s shop Wardrobe on Park.

Owners Maryanne Nagle and Bahaa Dalloul, who went before the Board of Health Monday night, declined to comment for this story, pending a final response from the town.

But Nagle told the Board of Health that the Andover business would be similar to the owner’s Plymouth social lounge, offering “more of a cultural aspect than a smoking aspect.” Nagle called it a social experience with the hookah at its core.

“If you were to walk in, customers are playing chess, backgammon. We have professors from all over Massachusetts meet there and discuss ideas,” Nagle said. “This is more about an environment that promotes intellect and ideas.”

The company’s website describes a hookah as a water pipe in which flavored tobacco or “shisha” is smoked from and calls it “a Middle Eastern tradition that dates back hundreds of years.”

“We invite you to sit down with friends and relax with one of our premium blends,” according to the website, which lists an array of blends on its menus.

The Plymouth lounge, which opened in May 2012, is billed as “warm, inviting and elegant” and featuring “soft ambient music playing, comfortable couches and lighting.” It also hosts belly dancers as entertainment, according to the website. Guests must be at least 18 years old.

“We don’t lure anyone there with food or alcohol,” Nagle said. “They’re there for that social aspect with the hookah, with the passing of the pipe.”

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