As one of the most multicultural cities in the world, London has been influenced by countless cultures from across the globe. With its countless museums, galleries and memorials, it’s easy to see first hand the broad array of diverse characteristics the city holds within its 600 square miles. Whether you’re visiting for a week or simply for an afternoon tea in London, you won’t have to go far to see there’s more than just English breakfasts and fish and chips.
One area that especially retains its diversity is West London. With large Greek, Russian and Middle Eastern populations scattered throughout the West of the city, you’ll find plenty of brunch London spots, bars and shops that particularly reflect the broad scope of nationalities who have made a home here. From Harrow to Chelsea, London truly is a rich tapestry and one aspect that amplifies this is the abundant culture of Shisha bars across the city.
What is Shisha?
Shisha or hookah pipes are large smoking instruments that date back to at least the mid 14th century. Using a bowl of water and several inhalation tubes, the shisha pipe is heated using coals and infuses tobacco or herb-based material that is inhaled with the heated water vapour. These pipes can be used with many different flavours, mixtures and breathing tubes, coming in many different sizes and working similarly to the modern vaping device.
The culture of shisha smoking was most notably seen in India and the middle east, and quickly became integrated into the culture, often being paired with tea or food. This tradition is still seen across the globe today, and London promises a range of unique bars and restaurants that utilise the social elements of shisha pipes.
Shisha in London
There’s no better area than West London for social, accessible shisha bars. With many top range restaurants kitted out with unique, middle eastern decor, food and refreshments, these bars have quickly become a staple of many locals day to day lives. And that’s the point, as a diverse and bustling city, Shisha bars are designed to bring people – and cultures – together, all in a relaxed and comfortable environment.
For guests at the Park Grand Lancaster Gate, nearby shisha bars are rife with activity and offer a great alternative to working lunches and evenings out with friends and loved ones. Here are just a few of our favourites in the West London area.
Number One Church Street
Based in St John’s Wood, Number One Church Street is a quaint shisha bar and cafe, offering up a high street ambience and a laid back atmosphere. With its backroom shisha area kitted out with traditional Moroccan decor, this North West idyll is popular with the locals and tourists in the Chalk Farm and Paddington area.
With a few branches across the city, Dar Marrakesh has become the number one London spot for Moroccan cuisine and professionally curated Shisha flavours from across the world. With a range of dinner, lunch and cocktail and mocktail menus, this Edgware Road-based diner offers even more than just an atmospheric Shisha experience.
Based in Marylebone, the Sara Cafe promises a broad range of Halal-friendly meals, as well as great shisha servicing. With its high street terrace, the Sara Cafe is the perfect West London locale for shisha lovers who want to indulge a spot of people watching. Alongside its broad range of Shisha flavours, Sara Cafe provides a hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.
This Lebanese Bar and Grill is a central Paddington hotspot for lunch meetings and after work dining. With its mouthwatering menu and corporate catering and private event rooms, this is central London based Middle Eastern hospitality at its best.
Zayona Shisha Lounge and Restaurant
Zayona Shisha Lounge and Restaurant is base don Edgware Road and is one of the best spots in the city for an authentic Turkish kebab. With it’s the friendly atmosphere and shisha amenities, this is the perfect stop off for a quick bite to eat and relaxing shisha experience, all in a no-nonsense atmosphere.
Momtaz Shisha Cafe
With a branch in Paddington and Kinston Upon Thames, the Momtaz Shisha Cafe sells an abundance of teas and drinks all with classic Lebanese decor. The beautiful outdoor seating is heated, and there’s even a private women’s area for woman only socialising. With more middle eastern snacks than your average eatery, Momtaz is an authentic Lebanese social experience.
With authentic Libyan grilled chicken, tender lamb and vegetable stews, this hearty North African eatery is kitted out with beautiful African interiors and a plush terrace for summer shisha fun. Base din Marylebone, Acacus is one of the most popular West London Shisha experiences, transporting you from the often Middle-East inspired bars to a unique African feel.
Located close by to Regent’s Park, Khaleej Cafe offers stunning dining areas with dazzling interiors, as well as heated outside shisha areas. With a menu of Turkish meals and snacks, Khaleej Cafe is in walking distance from Baker Street, Paddington and Marylebone.
Putting a Greek spin on the Shisha culture, Fantasia Palace is a beautiful white-clothed restaurant serving hummus snacks and authentic Greek meals. With its own outside terrace just down the road from Paddington Station, this is a popular one with the commuting locals.
SS Shisha Lounge
A Shisha Lounge pure and simple, this bar is nestled in the heart of Pimlico, promising a range of authentic flavours and an intimate atmosphere. Whether you’re on the lookout for a quick drink and Shisha stop off or a Sunday afternoon of board games, SS Shisha Lounge is the perfect atmosphere for your London hookah tour.
Salt Whisky Bar and Dining Room
Overlooking Hyde Park, the Salt Whisky Bar and Dining Room is one of the best restaurants near Lancaster Gate and brings the heady appeal of a curry house and Shisha joint into unique communion with a whisky focused bar. With plenty of spirits, atmosphere and fine dining, Shisha bars and terraces are just one of the many appeals of this popular hang out.