« Red Square's punishment | Main | MTV takes over Merriweather tonight »

October 23, 2009

Behind the scenes bar stories: Permits? Who needs permits?

hookahHas anybody been to the new VIP Hookah Bar & Cafe in Little Italy?

Wait -- maybe I should rephrase that: Did anybody go to the hookah bar in Little Italy?

It might be closed already.

I'm not sure when this place opened. But apparently, the owner thought it was a good idea to bring a hookah bar to the heart of Little Italy without doing his homework -- or even meeting his neighbors.

Here are the details, courtesy of this article by Peter Hermann ...

A hookah bar, sandwiched between two rowhouses with a 98-year-old woman living on one side and an 86-year-old woman living on the other, somehow managed to open without an occupancy permit, though the owner assured skeptical residents that he would obtain the necessary documents and, despite the advertisement on his door, he does not have nor does he plan to have belly dancers.

I love it!

As for those non-existent belly dancers -- VIP Hookah Bar's Web site advertises live belly dancing on Friday and Saturday nights:

We Always Have Something Different Every Weekend Such As Belly Dancing And Different Artists Performing.

Not the brightest bulb, I see.

I'm all for hookah bars, and have written about them extensively in the past. But if you're going to open any business in this city, you've got to make sure all the paperwork is in line. And it's a common courtesy to at least shake hands with your neighbors -- especially in Little Italy.

(Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.)

Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog
Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:30 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


The only hookah bar I'm going to is the one in my basement, with the doors locked and the incense lit.

Oh, and the Allman Brothers will be on the turntable.

One of the pics on the home page looks like a bedroom.

"But if you're going to open any business in this city, you've got to make sure all the paperwork is in line"

Haha, good one Sam...


"But if you're going to open any business in this city, you've got to make sure all the paperwork is in line"

That's what I always say...unless it applies to my Cafe Hon.
Denise Whiting

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "k" in the field below:
About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

Most Recent Comments
Recent tweets
Sign up for FREE nightlife alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Photo galleries
Stay connected