The Living Room Coffee Shop’s upstairs hookah lounge, in La Jolla: this place stinks.

The famous Living Room Coffee Shop granny with punker logo. Not an accurate representation of their environment, but whatever.
The famous Living Room Coffee Shop granny with punker logo. It’s not an accurate representation of their environment, but whatever.
[Coffee Shop review]

I sat upstairs in the hookah lounge above the La Jolla Living Room Coffee Shop

(and it sucked)

a bad review by Reviewer Rob

[Note: this was written after an annoying encounter where the server in the upstairs hookah lounge walked right past me after I sat down on the couch and before I had plugged in and started up my laptop. He looked at me in a way that told me he wanted tell me some bad news or order something from him so I waited for him to approach me before starting up my computer, but he walked away after taking an order from a different table. Then AFTER my laptop was on and I had connected to the internet he came back and finally told me the seat was for hookah customers, even though I had sat upstairs a different time months ago without ordering that vile waterpipe. Annoying. They say never shop for groceries while hungry, so maybe you should never try to write an objective review when angry… but – full disclosure: I was kinda pissed off. ~RR]

This place is awful. It stinks so bad you think you’re in the La Jolla Cove pinniped sanctuary. Hookah smoking is a disgusting activity to engage in that has grown way too popular and should be outlawed in all public places if smoking tobacco is outlawed too.

I sat upstairs in the hookah lounge above the La Jolla Living Room Coffee Shop a couple of years ago and endured the mind numbing appetite-spoiling fog for over an hour a couple of years ago because I wanted to answer emails and the street level section of the coffee shop was crowded so upstairs was the only place a table was open year a wall outlet for my laptop, but I remember it being a wholly unpleasant experience. Tonight though stood out as far superior in its abhorrence because Abdul or whatever the name of the dude serving tables there was waited until I had my laptop plugged in and running before he came back to tell me I had to order something from their section of the cafe if I was to sit there. he tried to say he “didn’t see” me even though we looked right at each other and made eye contact shortly after I sat down and he came to check the passport i.d. of a guy at another table close by and before taking his order. I’d already bought a bottle of juice from downstairs.

I thought maybe he hoped I’d feel compelled to buy an overpriced beer or a quiche or maybe his short-term memory was so enfeebled by hookah smoke that he wouldn’t have remembered the other table’s order had he told me this before walking, back but it was pretty annoying. After he “politely” gave notice about the special requirements I tried giving him advice by saying “next time let a customer know that they had to buy to sit here before plugging in and turning on their computer.”

So, I wasn’t going to buy a second order to sit in this den with its stinky atmosphere. Another San Diego coffee shop owner who grew up in and immigrated from the Middle East dislikes hookah so much he said to me once that it’s out of place in a town like La Jolla because it’s a “lower-class” activity and he laughs when he sees it marketed as sheik (chic?). I swear to Spaghetti Head this growing hookah trend is as bad I’m sure as sharia law. It’s a dangerous threat to public health needs to be regulated or stopped altogether. If people can’t smoke tobacco in a bar then why can they smoke shitty hookah with the windows open so they can stink up the street? Maybe someone buys tickets to the local policeman’s ball in bulk or something to get this allowed. I don’t fucking know.

After typing up what I needed downstairs on my way out I asked the girl behind the counter with the nice white “SDSU cheerleader” sweatshirt what their house policy was about sitting upstairs, and was it actually a part of the coffee shop? She said pleasantly that they “try to reserve the table up there for people to smoke hookah.” (So is the alternative to stand and not sit at a table?) I laughed and thanked her and went somewhere close by that had more reasonable prices, a strong wifi connection and where the food was actually good. The Living Room Coffee Shop chain – with four San Diego locations, I think – has finally earned a deserved bad rating here with me. Bob and Pia, the owners of the Point Loma Living Room Coffee Shop are generally rude and seem to accuse people of coming in only to use the internet there. Plus their food is bad and cost disproportionally too much. But at least their internet works well, unlike this La Jolla outlet with its upstairs cave filled with gross fruity fumes. The Point Loma food is overpriced and uneatable. Here in La Jolla they have pretty much the same menu, it looks like, so I didn’t try it now.

In fact I think I’ll pass on coming back here another time too. Goodbye to The Living Room Coffee Shop and Hookah Lounge in La Jolla. These guys suck.

I wish the Pannikin was open late.

The Living Room Coffee Shop’s upstairs hookah lounge in La Jolla: this place stinks.
The Living Room Coffee Shop’s upstairs hookah lounge in La Jolla: this place stinks.

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