Since 2004, She-Sha has unanimously dominated Blacksburg’s hookah scene with an urban underground ambiance that has attracted local artists, poets and hookah enthusiasts alike. However, once Mad Dog Boutique closed in 2017, a vacant store at the center of Blacksburg’s bar scene held great potential for whoever made their way downtown. Opening up over the summer, Melody Hookah Lounge brought a chic, posh atmosphere to the downtown area, elevating Blacksburg’s smoking experience. It was unclear if She-Sha regulars would test the waters and find Melody Hookah Lounge to be the new Friday night hangout spot.
Across the street from the newly opened Sugar Magnolia, and neighbors with Champs, Melody Hookah Lounge entices bystanders with strobing neon lights that alert that it is open — despite the dark, dimly lit interior. You walk in, feeling like you entered a swanky, urban bar (with no booze), not a hookah lounge. Black tiled ceilings lead the way to the front desk, as crystal pendants drip from the ceiling. Black and white sofas line the walls, with lowered coffee tables, as well as tables and chairs, in the back of the lounge.
Aside from a migraine-inducing neon blue light neighboring every couch, the lighting was intimate in the sense that if someone was next to you, you wouldn’t be able to see their face unless a plume of smoke came out of it. The music boomed louder than the music playing in my headphones and made group studying very difficult.
Its menu offers a plethora of unique hookah flavors: fuzzy lemonade, mango, blue mint, double apple, and other classic fruity concoctions such as a fresh fruit head and non-tobacco flavors. A sign forecasted that food was coming soon, but in the meantime, the lounge sold munchy food like candy and a wide variety of Turkish and American beverages. The Turkish coffee had a spicy bite to it that faintly resembled tumeric and rosemary (it made my lips pucker), but I was enthralled since no other place in Blacksburg offers this foreign blend.
Despite the ornate hookah that I smoked out of, the flavors were slightly disappointing. The double apple was discouraging, tasting more like over-chewed peppermint gum and missing that crispy apple tang.
On the plus side, the service at Melody Hookah Lounge was above and beyond. Cleanliness is a big factor for me when I try a new hookah bar, and this one takes the cake. My hookah and coffee came quickly, my coals were replaced well before they extinguished and the employees were enthusiastic about answering my random questions, especially about what “fuzzy” lemonade and “sweet” coffee meant.
If you are looking for a new place to relax with friends and are trying avoid packed bars and drunk people, Melody Hookah Lounge could be a great hangout spot for you.
However, what Melody forgot to include was a college-kid aesthetic that would pull Virginia Tech students in the door. She-Sha’s advantage over Melody lies in the cool and easy ambiance that great local joints like Bollo’s and Green’s also hold. It is missing a way to relate and bring college students in for a purpose that isn’t just a two-hour nicotine buzz. However, with the right changes and the superb location, Melody Hookah Lounge has the potential to be the next best hookah lounge of Blacksburg.