For the first time in many months, I have decided to give one of the homegrown Long Island hookah lounge businesses a try. My abstinence from hookah came around the time of a rough economy where many of the hookah establishments I enjoyed frequenting were going out of business. The economic downturn was not only a hurdle to climb for business, but consumers as well. My crave for "Blue Mist" and my very favorite Vanilla/Winterflower blend were turning more into a fading pastime rather than the weekly indulgence. Finally, with the economy showing a glimpse of favor and consumers slowly beginning to feel confident in their spending, what better way to spend a day's pay than on a night of catching up on an 8-month long hookah abstinence? Only one hookah place on Long Island caught my eye: a little place in the heart of Westbury, NY called Mystique Hookah.

From the outside of Mystique Hookah, you would think it was an exotic house party store with the garden overhead and West Indian fence decour. Inside, however, is a chic lounge with an inviting atmosphere, a cool look, and a comfortable feel. The very first thing that I was impressed with was the space -- literally, the space that each available area gives to its guests -- featuring leather sofa chairs, various fauna to give that natural ambience, satin sheets draping the canopy, and long wooden tables that have a better quality than IKEA brand furniture. I was greeted by a young man by the name of Tony, a polished and friendly gentleman who was very welcoming to my presence. He interested me in "Blue Mist" (Starbuzz with a touch of mint) with an ice base out of my two other potential selections. It was hard to go with "Blue Mist" after seeing the menu with such a vast repertoire of flavors. Reading the menu was like reading an alphabet of flavors from Apple to Vanilla, and interesting combinations as far as the pages could fit them ("X on the Beach", "The Godfather", etc). The shisha itself was a 19" Egyptian pipe with a relaxing inlay floral patterned hose.. Very little maintenance required on the shisha as it appears to be preened and polished to perfection, barely needing a house call to clear any stale air from the base or adjust the ball bearings. The coals were all natural compressed blocks that stayed lit for a great amount of time, and if a change was needed (only one change out of an hour long smoke) they were readily available with little to no wait. And what better to top off a great hookah flavor than to drink a piping hot pot of natural Mint tea with crushed mint leaves and a dab of honey? Truly a fantastic combination with any hookah in my experience of smoking.

The next hookah, which was on the house by the owner Mag, was the Chino Special: a blend of orange and lemon with an iced juice base. This is by far one of the best citrus mixes that I have ever come upon, a cornucopia of fruit flavors that is a great choice whether you're looking to introduce yourself for a single hookah or transitioning to a new flavor. My sever, Claudeene, was very helpful in selecting this flavor along with the manager, Tony. To sync with the hookah I ordered a Stawberry/Mango drink. My only caveat with the drink was that it was not pulpy enough, but that's just a personal preference. The combination between the beverage and the hookah itself had a mutual relationship: both excellent and very fitting with each other. As I passed the time with my laptop and the music, more people started to pile in and the place was starting to pick up. Even with the other guests you feel like you are in your own realm -- the large space makes you feel like you are the only one there -- and the service is very fast and personable to every guest. In the end you feel a little closer to everybody (literally if you decide to cuddle up with your smoke buddies).

My arrival was at 7:00 PM, and right around 7:30 PM on a Friday night is when the crowd begins to roll in, so be sure to arrive early and catch their "Hookah Happy Hour" every day between 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., which gives a $5 discount to all hookah orders. I must admit that I have never come across a promotion like this before from any hookah lounge. Guests eager to catch this great deal should take advantage of this offer. If you're bold for adventure, try some of their premium flavors that go for a modest price of $16-$18. Outside beverages and food are allowed but a clean up fee is required. However, judging from the cleanliness of the lounge you could tell that the staff aims to keep the lounge tidy and attractive.

Mystique Hookah offers a variety of special events posted on their website, including Thursday night Belly Dancing, Friday and Saturday night "Dress to Impress", and Sundays are movie night. Additional features are free wireless Internet, an optional bar with a full line of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, a great variety of music, and an attractive staff that would make the Borgata Casino servers look like Denny's in the boondocks.

If you're in the Long Island area and want a genuine hookah smoking experience, then Mystique Lounge is the place to go. Mystique Lounge is in a league of its own and boasts all the qualities you want: a great hookah selection, a modest price, friendly wait staff and management, a relaxing environment, and an overall style that many other hookah lounges seem to be out of touch with. You won't find a better hookah lounge than Mystique Lounge, located in Westbury, New York.

Atmosphere: Clean, inviting, and attractive.

Service: Fast, efficient, and friendly. You won't find a better service.

Price: Catch their "Happy Hookah Hour" and enjoy the discounted price. Go for broke and sample their premium flavors, but be prepared to pay a little extra to get closer to some heavenly flavors.

Overall: If you want the experience and are on Long Island, the travel is well worth it. Definitely the best I have had in a long time and the finest hookah lounge in the area.

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