By Ariel Yong
Starting tonight Cloud Lounge is open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday. But owner Ramzi Iskandar, and his partner Hamza Jaber, don’t entice their customers with the usual attraction: booze. Alcohol is prohibited.
“I don’t like the lifestyle of having a business with alcohol in Arlington,” says Iskandar. “I don’t think it would fit that area [of Arlington.]” So what keeps people there until the wee hours of the morning? Other vices, of course: food, tobacco and caffeine. And it must be going well, Iskandar says a second Cloud Lounge to open in Tysons Corner by the end of this year, is already in the works.
1. LATE NIGHT EATS FROM BURGER 7
Iskandar also owns the Burger 7 above Cloud Lounge, so although it closes at 11 p.m., lounge guests can order from the full menu of burgers, hot dogs, fries and milkshakes. In the coming weeks, Iskandar will add an original Cloud Lounge menu including caviar, duck foie gras and duck prosciutto and a range of baguette sandwiches featuring smoked salmon, mortadella, pate and scrambled eggs with hot dogs.
2. TURKISH COFFEE
Cloud Lounge imports its Turkish coffee from Turkey and Lebanon and blends it in-house. The combination includes Lebanese grinds, says Iskandar, because of it’s addition of cardamom.
3. TURKISH DELIGHTS
These desserts are imported from Turkey and are very close to “the French nougat,” says Iskandar. They are “basically a gel of starch and sugar” and the rotating flavors include coconut, cappuccino, pomegranate, pistachio, rose water and walnut. Shipping through Chicago, the desserts should arrive in time for the weekend crowds.
4. PARISIAN TEA
Although France is known for its coffee culture, Cloud Lounge imports French tea from Dammann Frères, selling the exotic-sounding varieties: l‘orental, jardin bleu, vert gunpowder and vert menthe. But the jasmine green tea is the most popular, says Iskandar.
Cloud Lounge employs a hookah specialist—”like a mixologist,” says Iskandar—who mixes different tobaccos in-house. “You can be very unique at providing a certain mix that can create a buzz in the area,” says Iskandar. “And everybody wants to go there.” The blends include rose and mint, grapefruit and rose, and the “craziest flavor,” according to Iskandar: “Arabic gum and mint.” / Cloud Lounge, 2525 Lee Highway, Arlington
*this post has been updated