Top 5 Shisha Lounges in Mississauga
The shisha tour of Mississauga was quite adventurous. Visiting 14 shisha spots in this city, I've had orders completely forgotten, walked into un-breathable air conditions and even been pranked by a staff member. But of course, none of those experiences made their way into this article.
When it came to judging these establishments, I did not solely rely on atmosphere and shisha selection. I also took into account design and decor, service and operations, menu options, food and drink quality and price. Here are my top five picks.
5. El Fishawy
El Fishawy is located in a small plaza next to Axia at Glen Erin & Eglington. Step through the doors and you'll find a brightly lit, large open space buzzing with patrons. Big groups are welcome to reserve the very large booths along the walls. Some historical cultural decorations line the room, and Arabic TV and music provide a Middle Eastern vibe. A downside is that Fishawy doesn't open as late as others and can be inconsistent with their closing times.
Fusion has a laid-back local sports bar vibe to kick back in, staff that feel like your buddies and urban music and sports on the screens (you could have caught the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight while enjoying the special Paan Rasna shisha). Open since March, they've already been updating the room to include more TV screens and video games. They offer a large flavor selection of 15 regulars (including lychee and guava), nine specials and fruit heads, including apple, orange and pineapple.
Regular shisha is $9.
The newest addition to the Streetsville nightlife scene, right next to Cuchulainns Irish pub, continues to evolve with updated menus and decor. Enter through the front entrance and you may find yourself wondering where the party is. If you continue to the back or enter off Tannery St, you'll find a back entrance to a stairwell leading you right to the true lounge experience. Although the shisha selection is quite simple, the fruit heads include a fresh watermelon and you can add ice or real juice instead of water.
Regular shisha is $9.99
2. Haze Lounge
This is the place for that downtown nightlife vibe, with every element being modern and stylish (reflected in the price as well). The front patio offers the ever-growing view of downtown Mississauga and the inside splits a dining side and lounge side. Music is English, ranging from alternative to top 40 and hip-hop.
The shisha selection is by far the craziest. Along with every fruit head, mint leaf, ice tip and themed mix such as "Aphrodite," they now feature four premiums -- including an electronic head and 41-inch tall shisha. For $70, you can try the "Vulcan," described as: a massive, glowing shisha served with two orange heads. Made of hand blown, lab grade glass for the purest and thickest smoke.
Although it's the only place where you can pay from your table, you might have a hard time getting someone to come by. Some of the systems (or lack thereof) contribute to poor service (although the servers themselves are kind).
Regular shisha is $14
1. Mazaj Lounge
The best part of this top five is that each place has a different atmosphere to choose from, and Mazaj offers a great balance to the shisha experience. They may not have the widest selection of shisha, but keeping choices simple has always been a winning motto. The space is mostly open, colourful and lively with a pseudo-back patio. The Arabic music provides a cultural vibe while the TVs display top sports networks and a booth area offers video games. The best part was watching the staff re-work the room to accommodate as many new guests as possible. Servers constantly attend to the guests and make you feel taken care of.
Regular shisha is $9
Upon exiting this experience, I felt like sharing a few notes for guests:
Can We Help You? - Most lounges don't have a designated reception area and you may find yourself standing around wondering if anyone will welcome you.
Still Waiting... - One shisha head can take two hours to smoke. Customer turnover isn't as fast as a restaurant.
Water Tax - There's no tap water, only bottled. This is because large groups may order and share only one pipe and that isn't a lot of profit (nor proper custom). As someone who will order up enough items, I'd rather not pay for water and suggest a method such as minimum purchases -- the same way bars require a beverage purchase for half-price wing night.
Rookies Take Note - Smoking a shisha is like smoking a cigarette or cigar. You don't take one hit and pass it to your buddy. If you are sharing, hold on to it for a bit before passing. This is why you may notice the more veteran customers smoking their own shisha.
Dry Tap - For those who don't know, the lounges are alcohol-free establishments.