Author: Margie Camarda
Students may think Eagle Rock was waiting dormant over the summer for our return in August. And to the casual observer, it may appear that the surrounding area is the same as it was when we left in May. However, some observant folks may have noticed the newly established Eagle Rock CafÃ© and Hookah Lounge at 4334 Eagle Rock Boulevard, which opened in June and offers a new leisure activity just a few blocks away from campus.
A fence blocks the patio from view of the street and the unlit sign just peeks above the chain links, so the charming but modest little building is easy to miss zooming down Eagle Rock in a car. Once seated, though, the fence creates a pleasant enclosed patio that almost allows you to forget you are on a main thoroughfare. Combined with the soft white glow from Christmas lights strung among the flowers that climb the trellis, heaters for cool evenings, and the Kanye West album playing in the background, this creates a calm atmosphere perfect for casual socializing.
Customers can smoke for $12 per hookah and pay $5 more per refill. The “HOOOOOKAAAAAHH” menu is quite extensive, ranging from traditional fruit flavors like Peach and Apple to more unique ones like Beer, Vodka and Cognac. Bahama Mama (a blend of several fruit flavors and mint) came highly recommended by employee Dustin, and after smoking it for an hour, it is a suggestion I second. It was subtle but tasty, and left us all feeling airy and relaxed.
For those who do not smoke, the cappuccinos (“Always doubles,” Dustin said) are also delicious.
Although the name Eagle Rock CafÃ© implies it is a restaurant, the food selection inside is mostly snack items, little more than what you would find in a vending machine. However, a taco truck is strategically parked just outside, so hungry patrons could easily enjoy some Mexican food before their hookah or coffee.
Also for sale inside are reasonably priced glass pipes for your at-home smoking needs. Small pipes are priced at about $12 and medium ones at about $18.
Although the ambiance and the hookah were both enjoyable and the service friendly and prompt, comfort was a bit lacking. The only seating outside is hard wicker chairs. “The seats could be more cushiony. They are not snugly,” Oxy student Claire Anderson (sophomore) said. While I agree with Anderson that seat cushions could improve the quality of the tobacco-induced state of relaxation, I think the cafÃ© has enough redeeming qualities to outweigh this flaw.
Free wireless is available to customers who bring their laptops, making Eagle Rock CafÃ© an ideal place to do homework for people who encounter too many distractions on campus. Dustin also said he hopes to offer a discount for Oxy students soon. Perhaps most importantly, the establishment is open until 1 a.m. every day, and Dustin mentioned that they are busiest Monday through Thursday. This provides a fun outing for weekdays, when there aren’t many parties or other events on campus. It is also a good alternative to drinking, which most students do not have time for during the week.
Parking was somewhat difficult to come by, as there is only a small parking lot behind the building. It is close enough to campus to be reached on foot, though.
Eagle Rock CafÃ© and Hookah Lounge is a positive addition to our neighborhood. Both smokers and non-smokers can appreciate it as a much-needed retreat in a locale where students without cars are limited in their selection of off-campus hangouts. It is discoveries like this one that make it easy to live in a part of Los Angeles that is often erroneously dismissed as being on the insignificant outskirts of the city. Eagle Rock CafÃ© and similar establishments are transforming Eagle Rock into a vivacious neighborhood, brimming with culture to offer everyone who stops by.
This article has been archived, for more requests please contact us via the support system.