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Off the Hookah to Move to Old Voodoo Lounge; Currently Hiring

Best Broward Dance Club 2012

When Off the Hookah burst onto the scene in 2007, it quickly became a Las Olas favorite, especially on its Thursday ladies' nights. The décor and outdoor lounge area, along with the free-flowing drinks for women, quickly brought in a female crowd to the riverfront location weekly, like clockwork.

People started talking about the fire-breathing bartender and different flavored tobacco to smoke from the hookahs. It was then that Fridays and Saturdays started getting packed. Next thing we knew, there were four locations strewn across South Florida and Virginia.

All that started at 300 SW First Ave. in Fort Lauderdale.

So what do you do with the location that started it all? You pack up and leave, of course.
"It's time for a change," said district manager Alex Passakos. "This is going to be a club like Fort Lauderdale has never seen."

Owner Ehab Atallah is taking the entire crew and moving Off the Hookah to 111 SW Second Ave., where longtime downtown staple Voodoo Lounge used to hold court. On Tuesday, OTH held a casting call for all positions at the downtown Fort Lauderdale location. Those who applied ranged from bartenders to managers and had varying reasons for wanting to work at OTH.

"I've been here and seen how busy this place gets," said bartender Bill Wagner, who currently works at Monkey Business in Wilton Manors. "You can pull in big money."

Former Darden Manager Angela Pennington runs her own computer business but wants to get back in the service industry for the social aspects of it.

"I like interacting with customers and communicating with a staff," Pennington told County Grind. "You don't get a chance to do that much working with computers."

Just around the corner and down the block, the new location gives the staff a chance to create the layout it always envisioned. There will no longer be any food served, allowing the club to focus solely on the nightclub aspect. The venue will be performer-driven, much like the elite South Beach clubs of our day, and feature Top Ten DJs taking what will be a DJ booth-centralized spotlight. No expense was spared on the sound system and lights, which entertainment director Danny Smith called "the best Fort Lauderdale has ever seen."

Add in a number of bars, a large VIP and an outdoor area and it's easy to see why OTH would leave what had started to become an iconic Riverfront location.

"We're really excited to get back to our roots," said Angelica Calad, who along with Passakos worked at the old Voodoo. "It gives us a chance to show what we are really good at."

Off the Hookah will remain open during its regular scheduled hours until the soft opening of the new location in about three weeks. From there, expect a gigantic grand-opening celebration with a world-class DJ, to be determined.

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Kareem Shaker
Contact: Kareem Shaker

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