Smoking hookah in Bakersfield
Metiqua Eng, Reporter
March 28, 2012
Filed under Features
Flames Hookah Lounge has quickly turned from a laid-back place to enjoy smoking hookah to a successful weekend hot spot.
Flames has been around for three years. It originally started as a small outside lounge, but quickly turned into an indoor party.
Katie Higgins, 20, has been a frequent guest at Flames for over a year and finds the nightlife exciting and inviting.
“I love the hookah bar and it’s honestly become the favorite party spot for my friends and I on Thursday nights,” Higgins said. “Considering I’m not 21 yet, Flames is a place where I can go have a good time, maybe smoke some hookah and dance the night away.”
Higgins explains that there isn’t much of a party scene in Bakersfield for people under 21 and that the hookah bar gives people age 18-20 a fun party experience and place to go on the weekends.
“The best night to come is Thursday nights,” Higgins explained. “Ladies are free before 10 p.m. and when you come inside there’s a lot of lights, people, and a DJ which is really fun because some people come to just smoke hookah while other people who want to have a little more fun can get on the dance floor.”
Although Flames has had tremendous success in attracting a lot of people of all ages to come out and have a good time, it’s not always the best atmosphere.
Britney Dominguez, 21, has been going to Flames almost every Thursday for the past three years and has seen a lot of the changes. She explains how things have dramatically altered.
“When I first started going, there was really no security,” Dominguez said. “It was really relaxed all the time, but when they built the inside lounge and the crowd got bigger and bigger, they needed more security because a lot of fights would breakout.”
Dominguez explains that the popularity of the hookah bar has caused a change in the crowd. Confrontations among customers from Flames, as well as people who go to the V.I.P. bar across the parking lot, are not uncommon.
“There are a lot of drunks who come out of V.I.P. and a lot of them start problems with the people coming out of Flames,” Dominguez said. “I have seen several fights break out in the parking lot from both guys and girls, but mainly guys. It’s really scary sometimes seeing a fight break out while walking to my car or something. Not only have punches been thrown at security, but bottles thrown as well.”
Despite the outburst of physical fights and altercations happening, Flames continues to be open Monday-Saturday and maintains a successful base of customers that come in to enjoy hookah and a party atmosphere.
“They’ve hired a lot more security from the front door to the parking lots,” Dominguez said. “No matter how many issues have happened inside or outside Flames, the staff and owner keep the party going every week. It’s as if all the bad stuff doesn’t phase them, and they continue to bring excitement to the Bakersfield party scene.”