Colonists asserted their independence at the Boston Tea Party by lulling British officers to sleep with cups of chamomile and drawing marker mustaches on their faces. Harness the revolutionary power of tea with today's Groupon: for $13, you get $30 worth of tea, hookah, and Persian tapas at Genie’s Traditional Middle Eastern Tea House & Restaurant in Newport.
At Genie’s Traditional Middle Eastern Tea House & Restaurant, patrons lounging on plush throw pillows sample authentic Persian teas and tapas or sip aromatic smoke from handcrafted Egyptian hookahs set atop glass tables. To keep air clean and breathable, state-of-the-art filtration units whisk away extra smoke produced by the hookahs’ all-natural coconut shell coals, and disposable hoses and mouthpieces help ensure a sanitary smoke on one of a dozen flavors of tobacco, including chocolate mint and watermelon ($16.99 each). Patrons can also sample three flavors of herbal molasses, a tobacco- and nicotine-free concoction ($16.99 each), or such signature mixes as the Daydreamer, a velvety blend of raspberry and coconut ($20.99). Having admitted the futility of snacking on smoke rings, guests can munch Middle Eastern dishes such as hummus ($5.99) and stuffed vegetarian grape leaves ($6.99), as well as the sohan, a pistachio-topped Persian brittle ($5.99). Genie’s specialty tea ($2.99+), an exotic black loose blend, pairs with a selection of herbal and fruit teas, including the pomegranate delight and a caffeine-free lemon ginger ($2.99), helping soothe weary senses and purge sinuses of lodged old-sock scents.
Vivid red, green, and blue walls complement Middle Eastern décor in the swanky seating area, which often opens its doors to body artists, belly dancers, and musicians who blend Persian, Arabic, and Greek tunes with Western-style lounge songs. Although Genie’s doesn’t serve alcohol, patrons may tote along their own bottles of beer and wine, which staff will uncork ($5 additional), pour into glasses ($2 additional), or juggle while whistling the I Dream of Jeannie theme upon request.
Genie's Hookah Lounge
When asked what inspired her to open Genie's Hookah Lounge, Farahnaz Shobeiri recalls the parties her grandfather used to host in Iran. “Whenever he had parties, he had hookah. People came to talk about family and politics and also to just enjoy themselves.” Now directing her own festive space, Shobeiri hopes to not only foster a similarly laid-back, convivial atmosphere but also to share her Persian heritage with others.
On Friday and Saturday, belly dancers sway to the sounds of Middle Eastern music, and tarot-card readers divine fortunes amid thick persian rugs and plush couches heaped with pillows and tinier, plusher couches. Friends can pass around handmade Egyptian hookahs filled with coconut-shell coals and dozens of different flavors, including tobacco-free herbal molasses. The lounge also boasts a high-end air-filtration system, which means that the smell of smoke or wandering cologne salesmen never overpowers the aromas of spiced meats and fresh bread from the kitchen.
Though Genie's Hookah Lounge doesn’t serve alcohol, people are welcome to bring their own wine and beer, and servers pour pure pomegranate juice and herbal teas directly into mouths via a funnel. Shobeiri hopes that the atmosphere encourages people to relax and linger over their meals. “We do everything from the heart here,” she says. "Everyone comes here to be happy.”
89% of 53 customers recommend
94 William Street
Newport, RI 02840