The rumors are true — CHS has seen the converted paint store with its own lens and smelled the wafting shisha smoke with its own nose. The Cobra Lounge hookah smoking club opens for business on Capitol Hill Thursday night.
We met with co-owner Erin Cobb as he worked to put final touches on the space before Thursday night’s opening.
“It’s a safe place to come and smoke,” Cobb told CHS. “There are other places in Seattle where you can smoke but we’re the only ones who know how to do it legally.”
That doesn’t mean Cobra will be playing by the rules when it opens on Thursday, however. In its Bellingham location, the Cobra Lounge found an interesting loophole in state smoking laws that forbid lighting up in commercial establishments. Up north, Cobra customers buy their shisha in one area and move to a separate club location nearby to smoke it and hang out. That recipe has worked in Whatcom County for more than three years.
On Capitol Hill, Cobb says he has set up the new Cobra Lounge as one facility at 1122 E Madison — just like other underground operations he says are operating in the city. But he’s also ready to convert the space to a layout he believes will put the lounge in compliance with state requirements and keep him out of trouble with the county. “We can do it in 24 hours,” Cobb said of the conversion.
CHS asked King County Health what the agency thought of the Cobra’s split tobacco store and smoking club concept. A spokesperson told us they haven’t received any complaints about Seattle smoking clubs and would want to “investigate their operations” before determining if any laws were broken.
If you’re worried about CHS narc-ing Cobra Lounge out, relax. Cobb said he expects scrutiny. “We just ask that the law be applied equally,” he said.
Cobb said he plans to have the lounge ready for visitors starting at 7 PM Thursday but he’s still pulling together the music and entertainment for the night. He’s also got his fingers crossed that a big shipment of shisha the Cobra is expecting comes in during the day from the United Arab Emirates. If not, it could be a little quiet around the lounge — they don’t serve booze and they’re not yet geared up to serve food. Cobb said one thing he can guarantee beyond a good smoke is community. “We set up these big tables so people can come, hang out and talk,” Cobb said.