Party Earth Review A hole-in-the-wall joint seemingly plucked from the streets of Cairo, Ali Mama Cafe is a grungy dive where the only thing stronger than the hookah tobacco might be the pots of authentic Turkish coffee. The façade is a... ... read full review
3229 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Venue often stays open later
Silver Lake, Los Angeles –
A hole-in-the-wall joint seemingly plucked from the streets of Cairo, Ali Mama Cafe is a grungy dive where the only thing stronger than the hookah tobacco might be the pots of authentic Turkish coffee.
The façade is a plain white storefront with only the dull, cramped front room visible inside, but once patrons sidestep their way through the groups of middle-aged Arab men perpetually planted by the windows, they can climb the narrow concrete stairs to a larger room with an entirely different atmosphere.
A domed wooden ceiling lined with black lights and rimmed with Christmas bulbs hangs above the scattered tables upstairs, causing anything and anyone wearing bright colors to give off a cool, fluorescent glow. On any given night, groups of hip young regulars and adventurous friends can be found smoking hookahs from the mammoth colorful pipes, playing cards, and sipping jet fuel-strength coffee as they listen to the pop sounds of Arabic music videos on the wall-mounted TVs.
For those who prefer some fresh air – or at least freshER air – there’s also a small outdoor patio with heat lamps, where tipsy revelers go on the weekends to smoke and joke and rehash the night.
Ali Mama Cafe definitely won’t win any awards from the Surgeon General, but for anyone in need of a heavy dose of Middle Eastern culture and a great place to top off an evening, it’s exactly what the doctor ordered.
Silver Lake hipsters, hookah aficionados, late-night partiers not ready to go home, young expats, adventurous groups of friends, and loud but friendly middle-aged Arab men in the front room, mostly early 20s to 30s+ upstairs.
Wall-mounted TVs display Arabic pop music videos.
Playing cards and several board games like Backgammon available.
No real food, though traditional milk pudding available for dessert. Outside food is welcome, or patrons can order from nearby restaurants.
No alcohol served.
Over 150 varieties of hookah flavors.
Dessert $6. Coffee $2–$4, iced/cold drinks $2–$6, hot drinks $2–$3, smoothies $5.50.
Come as you are: everything from the hipster uniform of skinny jeans and graphic t-shirts or slightly trendier wear on the late-night crowd to collared shirts and a few ties on the guys downstairs.
Late night on Fridays and Saturdays to join the local party crowd trying to stretch the evening out as long as they can, or any midweek evening to chill with a round of cards and smoke some shisha.
Local (2943 West Sunset Boulevard) is a popular little restaurant that serves only locally sourced food, has a handful of beers at the ready, and touts a salad bar many people happily drive across town for.