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21 Dec 12 Smoking Hookah and Drinking Beers at Chrome Lounge

For a second I forgot I was in State College. From the smell of exotically flavored sheesha, a diverse crowd of well-dressed patrons, and blaring lights flickering in tune with a hip-hop heavy soundtrack; I felt like I was transported into the nightlife scene of New York City.

And that’s exactly what Chrome is aiming for.

Last night was the much-anticipated grand opening of the hookah lounge/cocktail bar hybrid. It was moderately received by a campy group of 50 or so crowding over smouldering charcoals and top shelf beer bottles. Chrome, which once served Penn State students their weekend’s fill of “fat bitches” as W. Beaver’s Are U Hungry, now exudes a much more sophisticated atmosphere.

Tables line the walls underneath a kaleidoscopic glow of mood lighting. A live DJ mixes the ones and twos. Smoke rises as people share laughs over hookahs and mixed drinks. Hummus and pita chips serve as a complement to the laid back ambiance.

All of this in an area not much bigger than a University Terrace apartment. But the size almost adds to the atmosphere.

Chrome (@chrome_lounge) isn’t the place you go to get shit faced and dance to Ke$ha. It’s that bar you can go to any day of the week to unwind with a few friends rather than drink until you pick a fight with the bouncer.

But that didn’t stop anyone from indulging in one (or two) mind erasers.

Chrome isn’t filling a void in State College nightlife, it’s just keeping up with the times. Recently the bars that dot the downtown streets of Happy Valley have begun to ditch the sweaty, cellar, beer fest business model (I’m looking at you, Rathskeller) for an upscale appeal. Yet Chrome manages to maintain a chill vibe amidst the lavish beer selection (from Stella to New Castle to Sierra Nevada) and swanky bar stools.

By next semester, Chrome will boast a Mediterranean inspired menu and will open for business at 4 p.m. to accommodate the under 21 crowd.

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