Technicalities will let you get away with almost anything, especially if you're Ashley Judd, and you're basing all your legal know-how on something your prison cellmate once said in passing. Exploiting technicalities to bring you a smoke spot: The Cobra Lounge Opened by high-school buddies w/ their own radio show/ a penchant for sticking it to the man, the CL's a streeted up take on classic Mid-East smokeries modeled on the crew's first location in Bellingham, which was also Washington's first legal smoke spot -- something they slipped through loopholes in WA's anti-smoking ban by selling tobacco/ memberships in a smoke-free tiny shop around the corner where all the workers are technically employed, placing them squarely at substitute teacher status. The remodeled paint shop space boasts a vaulted-ceilinged main room w/ exposed steel girders, a hand-painted concrete floor, communal wood tables/ overstuffed couches, a lounge-y semi-private balcony, and walls tricked out w/ jagged graffiti-style scrawls & murals of snakes, which -- with the wall and all -- are technically on a plane. The constantly rotating puff menu features bowls of high-quality shisha (a tobacco/molasses blend) kicked up w/ natural flavors/supplements ranging from the the pear/Valerian root Mr. Rogers, to the double apple/kava Bob Marley, to the mint/rose/damiana Barry White, whose sweetness will be your weakness. The 18+ joint has plans to start serving alcohol, but for now they've just got pre-packaged bevies to wet your throat during smoke sessions, which last up to an hour and a half, about the same time it takes to go double-Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.
New York's First Japanese Speakeasy Restaurant is a Hidden Gem