Pax Lounge aims to hook cus­tomers with hookah

New bar plans to host mu­sic, cul­tural events

Maryland Independent - - Business - By CAROL SMITH csmith@somd­news

The Pax Lounge on Point Look­out Road in Leonard­town will hold its grand open­ing Satur­day, Aug. 26, bring­ing a hookah bar, mu­sic, danc­ing and more to South­ern Mary­land.

Own­ers Dim­ple Oberoi and her hus­band, Jay Faruque, had the idea for the lounge af­ter mov­ing to St. Mary’s County five years ago. The two once owned a hookah bar and cafe in Gaithers­burg, Faruque said, then looked to open a sim­i­lar busi­ness close by in the county.

“For the last five years if we had to go smoke hookah, I would go to Vir­ginia when we would visit our in-laws. So, that’s how it was,” Faruque said. “But in the back of our minds, all this time, it was al­ways my wife and me, ‘We should open one here.’”

He said the two moved for­ward with their idea when they found the right lo­ca­tion.

“We’ve been look­ing, but we just never had the right place,” Faruque said. “Noth­ing came to­gether un­til here. It just kind of all came to­gether. The place, it’s by it­self. It’s big. It’s a nice back­yard and every­thing.”

The lounge gives cus­tomers a lo­cal place to smoke hookah, have drinks, lis­ten to mu­sic, dance and watch sports on the big-screen TVs.

“Peo­ple don’t have much to do at night around here. That’s what I’ve no­ticed,” Faruque said. “They don’t have a place un­less you go to D.C. or Vir­ginia, or even Waldorf. You would have to drive at least 45 min­utes to just have a spot. That’s what I’m try­ing to do here.”

A hookah is a mul­ti­stemmed wa­ter pipe used to smoke-fla­vored to­bac­cos or herbal fla­vors, and is typ­i­cally shared in a group.

“The whole idea of hookah,” Faruque said, “is not for smoke, it’s for so­cial­iz­ing.”

“When I grew up in col­lege and every­thing, this was a way for us to not go to clubs and get in trou­ble,” Faruque said. “We’ll lit­er­ally go there for like 30, 45 min­utes. Or we might even be there for a cou­ple hours. But we’re just talk­ing, con­ver­sa­tion, watch­ing the sports and every­thing … it’s just more about the so­cial life.”

He said the lounge will have tra­di­tional hookahs and elec­tronic hookahs, with the dif­fer­ence be­ing the top of the hookah, where the fla­vors are packed. He added that each cus­tomer who smokes hookah will be given a dis­pos­able mouth­piece, and dis­pos­able hoses will also be pro­vided.

For drinks, Faruque said the bar will be serv­ing up mostly top-shelf liquors, mixed drinks, wine and beer, along with non-al­co­holic re­fresh­ments in­clud­ing smoothies, soda and wa­ter.

“We can make any drink in this bar, pretty much,” Faruque said. “Any mixed drink that you can think of.”

For mu­sic and dance, Faruque said the lounge will hold themed mu­sic nights ev­ery Wed­nes­day through Sun­day, with the lineup sub­ject to change on spe­cial oc­ca­sions. He said Thurs­days will be Col­lege Night, Fri­days will fea­ture Top 40 mu­sic hits, Satur­days will be In­ter­na­tional Night, where they will be play­ing pop­u­lar in­ter­na­tional mu­sic, and Sun­days will be coun­try and West­ern or al­ter­na­tive mu­sic night.

He said the lounge will also fea­ture cul­tural, live belly dance per­for­mances.

“I do have belly dancers on Wed­nes­days,” Faruque said. “Some­thing dif­fer­ent for St. Mary’s County … It’s more tra­di­tional. It’s more cul­tural dance. It’s go­ing to be more cul­tural mu­sic so peo­ple can be in­volved.”

He said there will be a cover charge on Wed­nes­day nights start­ing at 10 p.m. and also on spe­cial event nights, but cus­tomers can get a re­duced cover by join­ing the guest list or mak­ing a reser­va­tion. He said there will not be a cover charge for women.

Faruque said a group of five cus­tomers or less can pur­chase the “VIP ta­ble ser­vice” for an evening of spe­cial treat­ment. He said the ser­vice in­cludes a ta­ble for the group, one free hookah serv­ing, pre­ferred park­ing, one bot­tle of cham­pagne or vodka, one jug of or­ange juice and one jug of cran­berry juice.

He said the lounge can also be booked for pri­vate par­ties and events.

In the fu­ture, Faruque said he will con­sider adding a food truck to serve cus­tomers and will look at the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­pand­ing the busi­ness con­cept in South­ern Mary­land.

“The main part of this is get­ting to­gether, en­joy­ing hav­ing a good time with fam­ily and friends, have a cou­ple of beers, lis­ten to some mu­sic, dance, what­ever,” Faruque said. “This is what St. Mary’s County was miss­ing.”

STAFF PHOTO BY CAROL SMITH

Co-owner and man­ager Jay Faruque stands by the bar in­side The Pax Lounge in Leonard­town. The lounge opens Aug. 26, bring­ing a hookah bar, mu­sic, danc­ing and more to South­ern Mary­land.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF THE PAX LOUNGE

An ex­am­ple of the type of hookahs that will be fea­tured at the The Pax Lounge for guests to en­joy.

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