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From an old website, Alien in Montreal

It was pouring down with rain and we were thoroughly wet and miserable when I spotted Kafein, as we ran down Bishop Street. A glow of red, warm-looking lights came from the low window. I called a halt and we all peered inside, faces pressed to the glass. We could see a scattering of tables and comfy looking chairs. People laughed whilst smoking hookahs.

'Fancy it?' I asked.

There was the usual shrugging of shoulders and non-committal grunts. So we stand in the rain and dither. This is normal.

We actually begin to walk away when Qbert says, 'I suppose we could have one pint?'

We go inside.

There is a group of teenagers lounging around on the stairs, as if queuing to get in, but they aren't and they have their own agenda that is best served by standing around blocking the passage of other customers. They don't have drinks. Perhaps they're just sheltering from the rain.

Through a curtain of the kind normally found separating two rooms in old terraced houses we step into the red glow of the lounge. There are, of course, no comfy seats left, and the people in them simply stare at with some disdain as we drip and they smoke their hookahs, feeling cool, no doubt.

There's hip-hop playing, and as we settle on barstools we discuss if hip-hop is the new rock and roll. We read that somewhere, and it seems like the kind of thing one discusses in a hookah-lounge-bar.

The barmaid is pleasant and smiles a lot and takes our order, and then, after a moment of thinking, decides to tell us about the drink specials, which saves us about eight dollars. She even comes over occasionally and asks if we're having a good time. How nice.

The music, played by a guy with a laptop, takes a decidedly cheesy turn for the worse, as 80s tunes begin to crop up.

My god, is that Erasure?

Apart from a couple of tunes, the only ugly scene in the room is in the corner where gambling machines glow a harsh electric-blue, in contrast to the red dominating the rest of the room. The machines twinkle and glitter evilly and have messages on them telling people not to commit suicide.

We drink our discount drinks, and drip, and then dry, and then leave, back into the wet, and grey-looking street.