On the night of Jan. 30, as tufts of wet snow gathered on nearby parked cars, a stream of bundled carousers poured into Opa. Once inside, they passed the narrow bar, dodged the dance floor and headed up an obscure set of stairs at the back of the adjacent closed-for-the-night restaurant, Cazba. In the dark space, they joined other black-clad 20-somethings lit by the golden glimmer of the bar while an assortment of shadows sucked on fragrant hookahs in the background.
For opening weekend in a fairly obscure location, Opium--Opa's new high-end VIP hookah lounge--wasn't doing too shabby. Perched like a king in the back corner of the bar, co-owner Max Mohammadi shook hands with a steady stream of acquaintances coming to congratulate him on the new space. Intended as a more relaxed escape from the chaos of Opa, Opium hopes to provide refuge for the dance-weary masses with $20 hookahs and fancy martinis. In addition to the modern flatscreen TVs--"Six, including one in the bathroom," Mohammadi boasted--the space features an array of fluffy seating, billowing gauzey tapestries and hanging crystal glassware. While it's no opium den, just as Boise's other new hidden nightclub Catacomb is no macabre ossuary, Opium's dark corners do provide a nice escape from the downtown chaos. Or at the very least, a super cush place to empty your bladder while catching up on 30 Rock.