Everett hookah bar ordered to halt operations, pay fine

EVERETT — A downtown Everett hookah bar has been ordered to halt operations and pay $89,100 for violating state indoor-smoking laws.

The Hideout Hookah Lounge, part of the Wetmore Cafe at 2701 Wetmore Ave., is believed to be Snohomish County’s first hookah bar, according to county health officials.

It might also be the last.

The Snohomish Health District in 2012 filed a civil lawsuit against the bar’s owners after a series of violations going back about a year, district spokeswoman Kristin Kinnamon said Monday. It is generally against state law to smoke tobacco products inside businesses.

A Snohomish County Superior Court judge ruled in the health district’s favor on Feb. 18. The ruling wasn’t filed with the clerk’s office until last week.

The bar’s owners didn’t return a request for comment Monday. The bar’s storefront appeared empty, with no obvious signs advertising the business.

The Hideout brought in roughly $180,000 in business in 2012, according to court papers.

A hookah is a large glass pipe for smoking flavored tobacco. Smoking a hookah is considered a social activity in the Middle East. In recent years, the practice has gained popularity in the U.S., especially among young people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials say hookah use carries similar risks to smoking cigarettes.

Hookah bars are illegal under state law, Department of Health spokesman Tim Church said Monday.

Enforcement falls at the county level, he said. Some counties are more aggressive than others.

The bars are more common in urban areas, Church said.

The Hideout Hookah Lounge was a sort of nightclub that also sold tobacco products and non-alcoholic beverages, court papers show. No minors were allowed. The legal smoking age in Washington is 18.

About 500 to 1,000 patrons were issued membership cards. The owners told the court that bar staff were volunteers and therefore not subject to state laws that require protecting employees from secondhand smoke.

Neighbors, including a local church housed in the same building, complained about the smoke, court papers show.

Church staff said their sanctuary, bathrooms and other rooms became smoky, and parishioners and employees who have allergies were suffering.

The bar’s Facebook page appears to have been taken down. Some people posted to social media last week about celebrating the bar’s last night together.

Everett police records show officers wrote at least one informational report regarding alleged tobacco violations at the hookah bar, but police were not actively involved in the health district investigation, spokesman Aaron Snell said Monday.

Washington voters passed the indoor-smoking ban in 2005.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

View Former hookah bar in a larger map

More in Local News

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

They chose the longshot candidate to fill a vacant seat

Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick will serve as representative for the 39th legislative district.

Definitely not Christmas in July for parched young trees

“I live in Washington. I should not have to water a Christmas tree,” says one grower. But they did.

Marysville babysitter faces jail time in infant’s death

Medical experts differed over whether it was head trauma or illness that caused the baby to die.

Whether cheers or jeers, DeVos appearance will rouse spirits

Trump’s secretary of education is coming to Bellevue to raise money for a pro-business think tank.

Superior Court judge admits DUI on freeway

Prosecutors recommend a “standard” penalty for Marybeth Dingledy, who “is terribly sorry.”

Self-defense or murder? Trial begins in shooting death

Explanations as to why a man was shot in the back on a Bothell cul-de-sac are starkly different.

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Alliance plans meeting to discuss future of the Everett Station

Key themes are economic development, parking, green space, safety, and transportation connections

Front Porch

EVENTS Chicken dinner time Seniors serve up a family-style chicken dinner from… Continue reading

Most Read