“Hookah and Dubstep!!!” – Zero Lives

It was a typical shopping complex; restaurants and salons shoved side by side. The cookie cutter architecture was used to mislead anyone riding by. Kitsune (see PEX/Ortlieb’s/Blow Up A Go Go) and Yareli (belly dancer extraordinaire / former Phantasmagoria Circus) swore by the place. “You’ll love this place, I promise,” smiled Kitsune. Disregarding belly dancers advice was both stupid and dangerous. I swung the door open wide and smiled hesitantly. They grinned and marched inside, giggling with anticipation.

A DJ close to the door pulled his headphones to the side. “Welcome!!” he said in a ‘hurry up the shows about to begin’ type of way. We were ushered to a corner of angles: square table, rectangle couches, and squarish pillows. We smushed together on the couches, declining personal space for atmosphere. Lights were kept to a flicker. Ambiance was critical to the environment; good moods flourished in low lighting. A friendly man dropped a hulking hookah on the table. Embers crackled from the coals, as a familiar flowery sheesha filled the air. Hello! Hello!” he said handing me the hose. Be strong, be brave. I closed my eyes and took a deep breathe, the tension quickly left my body.

I opened my eyes as the smoke cleared from my head, the room looked a bit fuzzy; beams of lights pulsed and shaped the room. The faint smell of garlic caught my nose. I sloshed the wine around in my glass, lost in thought. It was a diabolical triple threat: wine, hookah, and dubstep. The glowing embers stared at me like hungry panther eyes in the dark. Get a grip, man. Things were getting heavy. I banged my knee on the short table trying to get comfortable. “Son of a bitch,” I belted out. Everyone stopped and stared. I squinted my eyes cautiously, as to not excite the locals, and passed the hose to Kitsune. The hookah man suddenly reappeared with a wide grin. He carefully exchanged the coals, toting a small brass container for the spent ones before vanishing again. I felt like royalty in a foreign country; king of my own desires where tidings were cheap. “That smell. I need garlic fries! Garlic for everyone and they’re only $5!!” exclaimed Kitsune. The hookah delivery man reappeared and grinned. “Excellent choice!” he stated matter-of-factly. It was clear he was a ninja trained in tactical delivery.

DJ Luz wrapped the room with potent beats that tapped into the eclectic crowd with an appreciation for the bass. Sounds reverberated off my chest; my brain rattled like a concussion. I smacked my knee on the table again. “Dammit!” I yelled. Kitsune stared confused. How the hell was I supposed the get comfortable. I needed to maintain a careful balance of relaxation and alertness. I heard JB in the back of my head, “The swag you fool, go full swaaaaggggg….laid back, laid back, laid back.” I leaned back, keeping my knees away from the table; someone was a genius. Maybe it was the head full of hookah speaking to me.

The DJs swapped an hour into the set. DJ Dev79 took to the booth. Everyone staggered as the relentless drum and bass coated the room. Their distinct styles played off the compromised and boisterous. Colorful shadows bounced and swirled on the walls; people tapped the floor faster then the beat. Nervous energy filled the room as the need to sway to the beat rose. We rested in the dim candle light, enjoying the fine wine we brought to extenuate the hookah. It was only a matter of time. Kitsune and Yareli took to the floor. They gracefully shimmied and twisted around to the beat. They arched backward, bending at 90 degree angles while sensually motioning to the air. Distant patrons leaned forward and gazed forward at the sight. The room paused in anticipation and disbelief.

The evening crashed to an abrupt end. One by one, patrons finished their drinks and made their way to the door. We stopped to thank the DJs for a wonderful evening, informing them that if we were ever back in New Jersey, we’d be sure to stop by again.

The bottom line:

Hours: 5:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Crowd:  Casual
Music: DJs
Price range:  $$
Accepts Credit Cards:  Yes
Dance floor:  No
Outdoor area: No
Coat check: No

It’s B.Y.O.B. Which is great, though no hard alcohols, as much as I wanted some Absinthe. However, wine did the job just fine. Food is reasonably priced, paired with stellar table service. The hookah is $20 for three people, a little extra if there is more than three people using it. Friday and Saturday evenings they have DJ’s playing dubstep, and various electronica along with a LIVE belly dancer. The first Wednesday of the month is called Hookah and Bass. Walk-ins are welcome, but it’s best to make a reservations. Check it if you’re ever in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Cous Cous
995 rt.70 East, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
(856) 427-9994