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Planned downtown business is smokin' to get up and running

September 07, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - At a time when smoking is all but forbidden in Maryland's bars, restaurants and private clubs, it wouldn't make a lot of sense for someone to open a business in downtown Hagerstown that caters to smokers.

But that's exactly what Ham Abu-Zayyad will do at the end of this month.

Abu-Zayyad said he is on schedule to open the Oasis Hookah Lounge & Cafe at 53 S. Potomac St.

The exact date hasn't been decided.

The business will be a haven for people who want to smoke flavored Middle Eastern tobaccos from a hookah, a communal pipe with several mouthpieces, he said.

Because at least 10 percent of the Oasis' income will rely on smoking, the business will be exempt from the state smoking ban when it takes effect in February, Abu-Zayyad said.

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The Oasis will feature 36 flavors of tobacco, sandwiches, and Mediterranean teas and desserts, among other things.

Abu-Zayyad said customers probably would pay about $15 on average for a smoke and something to eat.

During their visit, patrons will have the option to lounge on couches, listen to music, watch television or surf the Internet, he said.

"It's going to be a unique experience for everyone who comes in," Abu-Zayyad said. "It's going to be a good quality time."

He said the Oasis won't serve alcohol, but customers who are 21 or older will be allowed to bring their own beer and wine.

Abu-Zayyad envisions Hagerstown as the next Frederick, Md., a city that has enjoyed dynamic downtown growth.

He credited Mike Deming, a developer who has been instrumental in rebuilding Hagerstown's downtown, with creating an environment where a hookah cafe would be welcome.

"(Hagerstown) is going in the right direction," Abu-Zayyad said. "I think it's going to bring a lot of business downtown."




Operating hours



The Oasis Hookah Lounge & Cafe's proposed hours of operation are:

· Sunday to Thursday, noon to 12 a.m.

· Friday and Saturday, noon to 2 a.m.

For more information about the grand opening, visit www.myspace.com/oasishookahlounge.

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