Finding a place to hang out off campus is fairly easy to do in Erie. There are many places you can go to find food and space to relax or hang out with your friends. If you’re tired of the usual coffee shop atmosphere or need somewhere to go later at night, check out Casablanca Hookah Lounge, located on Fifth Street between Peach and State Streets.

The hookah lounge is a fairly new addition to downtown Erie and provides an interesting cultural experience to students. You do have to be 18 or older to enter; but once you do, the atmosphere is cool and almost intoxicating. It’s a little dark, but not so much that it is distracting or impossible to see. If you choose to smoke hookah, a variety of flavored tobaccos are available. If you just want a snack and to hang out, there are a lot of food options too. There’s also the option of visiting the smoke-free sandwich shop next door, which is owned by the same people.

Hookah smoking is an ancient tradition that originated in the Middle East, but it has quickly gained popularity around the world. Hookahs are large contraptions, usually filled with water, that allow for the creation of steam through heated coals which let you smoke the tobacco. Hookahs are smoked through long tubes; each hookah usually has one or two tubes to allow people to share.

Going to a hookah lounge has a calm environment similar to a coffee shop or small restaurant. The hookah lounge has that extra cultural experience however, that allows you to almost feel like you’re visiting another country.

If you’ve never tried Middle Eastern food, be sure to check out any of the Casablanca restaurants located around the Erie area, which all have reasonably priced appetizers and entrees to allow students to try something new and different. The food is very good and the overall experience is a great time.