How to Open a Hookah Bar in NYC
New York City, with its ethnically diverse population, is considered to be a great location for a hookah bar. These pipes enable flavored tobacco smoke to pass through a cup of water. A hookah can be expensive, and unwieldy to carry. Thus, smokers often prefer to enjoy them in a hookah bar. These establishments often serve food, refreshments and in some cases alcohol as well.
1. Select a location neighborhood for your hookah bar. A critical decision is where to open up the establishment. Astoria, a subsection of Queens, has a large Egyptian population, as well as numerous hookah bars, according to a November 2006 travel article published in The New York Times. The same article notes the East Village in Manhattan also features many similar bars. Place these locations on your short list of possibilities. Keep in mind that prices in Manhattan tend to be higher than in Queens, which will be reflected in your monthly rent expense. On the other hand, you can probably charge more for the service in Manhattan than you could in Queens.
2. Rent a store. After you pick a location, you will have to find a store to rent. Start by deciding how large you wish your bar to be. The number of hookahs you wish to make available will determine how large a space you need. Keep in mind that the hookahs produce a considerable amount of smoke and tables should therefore not be too close to each other. Before you approach the landlord, prepare a business plan to demonstrate your anticipated revenue from the hookah bar. This will provide reassurance to the owner that you can pay the rent on time. Secure financing to pay for the security deposit as well as the advance rental payment.
3. Register your business with New York’s Division of Corporations. The types of companies that can operate in New York City include: business corporation, limited liability company, general partnership, limited partnership and sole proprietorship. Select type of corporation you wish to establish and consult the Division of Corporation’s Website to determine which documents to submit, along with your application for Certificate of Incorporation. Consult the booklet, “Forming a Corporation in New York State,” for information incorporating a business in New York City.
4. Finalize your menu. Before you begin purchasing the equipment to use in your hookah bar, decide on the food and drinks you will serve. Remember: the lighter the food, the less time customers will likely spend at the bar and the more people you can serve. Easy-to-prepare items, such as sandwiches and finger foods that are also consumed quickly, should enable you to server more people more often.
5. Furnish your bar to suit the taste of the target market. According to the New York Times travel section, the hookah bars in Astoria cater primarily to Egyptians, while those in the East Village serve a more diverse clientele. Therefore, if you have chosen Astoria for your establishment, a more traditional style with rugs and classic furniture will work better. In the East Village, a more modern and contemporary design is likely to suit the taste of your diverse customers.
- Restaurant supplies (according to your menu)