Economy causes hookah lounge to close

By Liliana Cerquozzi |
Photo by Ashley Smith

For Ray Adieh, owner of Kulture Hookah Lounge, closing of his beloved business is a tragedy.

Businesses all around West King Street are shutting down. Some store owners have found no way around it.

“There is not enough business to sustain the bills,” Adieh said.

Kulture was a place where St. Augustine residents could come and hang out. On exclusive nights, they would have a DJ, dancing and live musicians.

“I went there every Wednesday when they had those fun dance nights and just had some good clean fun,” said Felicia Guerriero, Flagler College sophomore.

Students seem to be disappointed about the closing of one of their favorite weeknight hot spots.

“It’s a shame that it’s shutting down,” said Rachel Flynt, Flagler junior, “it limits us to where we can go at night to have fun and just relax.”

The closing saddens Adieh. He’s grown close to some of the students who come in to his business.

“There will be no more nightlife for people under 21 and I’m nervous that it will be unsafe with the drinking and driving,” Adieh said. “This was a family atmosphere and [I] knew almost everyone by first name.”

Since the announcement of their closing, Kulture has put a 50 percent discount on all hookahs. He’s trying to get rid of inventory as soon as possible.

“All we can do after this is pay off our debts,” Adieh said, “but everything will be okay.”

He seemed calm and collected as he sat outside. He was enjoying one of the last nights of Kulture.

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