Top 5 Shisha Cafes in Sydney


by Meghna Bali

Image credit: Armani

Image credit: Armani

With Sydney-siders already on edge with the state’s controversial lockout legislation, it came as no surprise that proposed amendments to outdoor smoking laws awakened an equal fury. The root of the anger stems from a sense that people are no longer free to choose whether to smoke, as well as the detrimental affect the reformed laws pose to particular businesses depending on income from traditional water pipes, known as hookah, argileh or shisha.

Shisha smoking is a cultural practice as old as the ancient dynasties of Persia, and akin to having a coffee, smokers puff and pass the water pipe, and enjoy food and conversation as they socialize within their communities. It’s a way of life, or at least it was.

While we understand the public demand for smoke-free outdoor spaces, it’ll be disappointing to see popular hangouts cut the pipes from their menus come July 6. Till then however, check out our Top 5 picks to smoke hubbly bubbly around Sydney!

 

Best Mates Cafe Parramatta (BMCP)

Image credit: BMCP

Image credit: BMCP

Judging this book by its cover would be a major loss on your part. On any given night of the week, rain, hail or shine, BMCP is bustling with shisha enthusiasts and sweet-tooths alike. Nestled in Parramatta’s trendiest strip, the menu consists of indulgent Nutella fuelled desserts, imaginative drink concoctions and quality shisha prepared by experienced mixologists.

There is by no means a scarcity of shisha cafes in the city; however BMCP strives for a unique experience. Foregoing the usual double apple and fruity mint combinations, the café offers eccentric blends and flavours including blood orange, coconut, Tic Tacs, Jaffa, Bounty, Aero and Cherry Ripe amongst their fruit options.

Complimented by their LED interiors and old school tunes, BMCP is THE place to go for the full shisha experience.

Hit: Nutella mousse, LED shishas, live music
Pro tip: Book online and request balcony seats before going in, BMCP’s chief shishologist can be directly reached via Facebook

Where: 329 Church Street, Parramatta
When: Everyday 6pm – 1am

 

El Sweetie, Granville

Image credit: El Sweetie

Image credit: El Sweetie

Sweet shop and tea saloon just about epitomizes this family run shisha café in Granville. Close to the station and down the road from El Jannah Chicken, El Sweetie is a sweet lover’s paradise. Perhaps inhibiting the grandest display of Lebanese sweets in Sydney, the spacious joint is the perfect after meal stopover for a cheeky dabble into rich pistachio coated baklava or delicious French pastries. A family owned business since 2008, El Sweetie caters to social and business gatherings alike, as well as all festivals and occasions.

With 17 shisha flavours on offer, the shop is a popular space for smokers to blow off perfectly round rings of steam while enjoying a fine range of Arabic sweets, Lebanese ice cream and fruit cocktails.

Hit: Fresh shisha heads, maamoul with chocolate
Pro tip: There is a reason for the sugar syrup on the table – USE IT

Where: 75 South Street, Granville
When: Monday – Thursday 8am – 12pm | Friday – Saturday 8am – 1.30pm | Sunday 8am – 12am

 

Kazbah, Darling Harbour

Image credit: Kazbah

Image credit: Kazbah

Crown jewel of the Kazbah Group, Kazbah at Darling Harbour is for those who fancy their shisha with a view to boot. Smokers can enjoy the fruity range of exotic shisha flavours while overlooking Sydney Harbour’s beautiful skyline.

The menu here is a hybrid of the owners’ mixed Lebanese, Greek and Turkish heritage, with unique dishes on offer including the Camel Burger, Shish Kebabs and spicy lamb with pinenut borek and tzatziki. The fusion of cultures also means an interesting range of desserts, including the hugely popular Kazbah Bomb, a rich combination of Turkish delight ice-cream, served with blueberries and flamed with Kurrant Vodka.

While the shisha is a little pricier here than its counterparts, the harbour view is more than enough to convince you to indulge a little.

Hit: Kazbah Bomb, location
Pro tip: Score a seat on the outside porch and get a fresh pineapple head with ice

Where: The Promenade, Harbourside Shopping Centre, Darling Harbour
When: Everyday | Lunch 11am – 3pm | Dinner 5pm – 9.30pm

 

Armani Restaurant, Parramatta

Image credit: Instagram

Image credit: Instagram

Another Parramtta establishment, Armani is favoured on this list for three reasons; their Arabic style marquee, their use of Starbuzz flavouring and the fact that the gentleman in charge of adjusting and replacing the coal for your shisha is ALWAYS on point. And not to mention their elaborate range of flavours, fruit cocktails, desserts and teas. Primarily a Mediterranean inspired menu, the restaurant serves everything from seafood to steak, chicken options, pastas and pizza.

Located near the Parramatta River end of Church Street, Armani’s traditional décor and immense range of food and drink makes the restaurant a unique dining and shisha experience.

Hit: Arabic style marquee, grape gum and mint shisha
Pro tip: Skip the pineapple head if you don’t want to spend an extra $15, other fresh heads are just as good!

Where: 5 – 7, 354 Church Street, Parramatta
When: Monday – Thursday 11am – 12am | Friday – Sunday 11am – late

 

Mezbah, Central

Image credit: Mezbah

Image credit: Mezbah

Sister restaurant of the Kezbah chain, Mezbah in Central serves up traditional Arabic eats in a trendy, typical Sydney fashion. With a menu consisting of the usual suspects; sandwiches, burgers and salads, Mezbah also offers Middle-eastern flat breads, mixed boards and pastas. The Za’Atar eggs, succulent Camel burger and vodka sours are definite hits with the local uni crowd.

One of the rare cafes serving shisha in the heart of the CBD, Mezbah serves the standard double apple, mint, lemon, strawberry and watermelon flavours on regular and fresh heads. The perfect afternoon escape.

Hit: Cheap eats, licensed
Pro tip: If the coal’s hitting your throat, take one piece off and stick the others around the edges of the foil

Where: 2 Lee Street, Haymarket
When: Monday – Sunday 7am – 11pm

 

 

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If you enjoyed Top 5 Shisha Cafes in Sydney, check out our other Top 5‘s:

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