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

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Cool additions at an elementary school in Everett

A totem pole and new gardens grace the courtyard of Whittier Elementary School.

Kids suspected in school’s smashed windows and other damage

The cost of the damage at Explorer Middle School in south Everett is estimated to be $5,000.

Recall issued for about 1,250 pounds of meat

Camano Island’s Sausage Haus products might be contaminated.

3 women seek open seat in 39th District

The GOP nominees hope to fill the opening created by the resignation of Republican John Koster.

Lake Stevens High senior has an entrepreneurial mind

John Cramer crafts and sells designer pens to help pay for college

Marysville-Arlington fiber-optic link planned by Comcast

The high-speed internet line, to be ready next year, is seen as a boost for business development.

Front Porch

EVENTS Health fairs A Senior Healthy Living Fair is set for noon… Continue reading

Cellphone carrier substation in Snohomish vandalized

Detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a… Continue reading

Most Read