51 1st Ave, New York, NY | Directions 1000340.724827 -73.987610
Neighborhoods: Downtown, East Village
The Female Bouncer tonight was very bad – The famale bouncer was nasty..
Last of the East Village Dungeons – There are a raft of personal reason for my adoration of Karma, first date; leading to it to becoming the defacto meeting place for all my then smoking pals. - Good memories.
I haven't been in a while, but my brother-in-law remains a regular; he continues to enjoy the vibe lost to this city 4 some odd years ago when the folks in spandex on roller-blades decided us bums couldn't smoke in our little haunts downtown.
A hooka-bar in name only - This is one of NYCs last great dive-bars! (enjoy it while you still can)
GO SOMEWHERE ELSE – I have been to this place at least 10 times in the past two years. The hookah was good. The past few times I went, it was getting progressively worse, and when you ask any of the "hookah girls" or "waitresses" to come help assist with the hookah or replace a coal, THEY ARE SO RUDE. They are extremely tacky and put their hands out and say they want a 20% tip if you tip less....despite their horrible service. When I refused the last time I went, the girl rolled her eyes and walked away. I went last nite, despite previous rude service (on 2 or 3 occasions with different employees) and it was HORRIBLE. I gave the hookah girl a tip for bringing over a $16 hookah...then when she came over to replace the coal (which is $3), she asked for a tip for that too!!!! HOW TACKY! Then the waitress comes over and says "the tip for the drinks is separate from the tip for the hookahs, so i need my tip" and then when my friends gave her a tip, she still included an additional $12 tip on the bill...THEN when she swiped my credit card, seh included an ADDITIONAL $15 tip!!!! So - there were THREE TIPS for one girl - she jsut thought she was going to get over on us. I check my bank statement today and see a charge for $16, $72, and $87!! I refuse to go to this place ever again. Its not worth it, it smells of cigarette smoke - and you will be guaranteed to smell like cigarette smoke too and the service was the absolute WORST.
ITS NOT WORTH IT. go do cafe khufu - the hookah bar around the corner on 3rd st.. or to one of the other hookah bars across the street. forget karma.
Intentionally Nasty Staff – I went by Karma last night because my friend was at a birthday party there. I was literally going to say hello to my friend, tell the birthday girl "happy birthday" and leave. Well this wasn't acceptable to the huge bouncer to the downstairs area. He wouldn't even look at me as he blocked me and said "all coats must be checked". When I explained how I would literally be out of there in the time it took to check my coat he just ignored me. So when I saw my friend walking in the room I went to wave and call her name so she could just come out and say hey, the bouncer purposely stepped to block my gestures. I have never be treated with such mean-spiritedness in my 7 years in Manhattan, not even at places like Marquee. It's ironic that a place called Karma would have such disregard for its meaning...
Still a somewhat cool place, but what happened to Karma? – Went to Karma last night with some friends visiting from Germany. I used to go to this place all the time in the late 90s early 2000s. It used to be one of my favorite bars because you can smoke cigs and hookah there. Anyway first off they made us all wait outside for like 10 minutes, when we finally got in half the bar was empty. They checked our IDs twice and put a stupid wrist band on you and your purse. Does my purse need to buy drinks?? They made my friend check his hoodie because they apparently have a dress code now. Hello, the place is a dive, not a chic club!!
We wanted to get a table, and some official looking guy with a headpiece told us its a 2 drink minimum for tables. Which was never the case before...we opted out because one of my friends wasnt really drinking. So we all had to stand at the bar.
OK, they charge 16$ for hookah which used to always be 10. I gave the waitress 2$ tip for bringing it over to us and she says "2$ is 10% , 4$ is 20%" meaning, give me more money. It was the most abnoxious thing ive ever seen. All she did was bring a hooka, she probably didnt even light it up herself. So i gave her the 4$ ..she never came back to change our coal which was kicked after about 45 minutes.
Now, the music..was horrible. Karma used to always play a mix of rock and 80s, some hip hop. Now its all top 40s garbage. Some songs were skipping, and were way too loud. The DJ was really clueless.
Overall its just not what it used to be (which applies to a lot of my favorite nyc places nowadays). They try to make it seem like its some high class joint, meanwhile its still a dive bar. No renovations of any kind have been made since i used to go there. The bathroom stalls still has the crappy french doors which barely close from like 10 years ago.
I would recommend this place to tourists and people who are looking for something a little "different" but a true new yorker would just find it pretentious and a pain in the you know what.
Nasty coat check girl – I have never once written a negative review on one of these things.
That being said, I wouldn't go back to this place if it was the eve of the apocalypse and it was the last bar in NYC. Out of principle.
They make you check your coat and charge you $1, which is stupid, but not a deal breaker. What is a deal breaker is that the coat check girl is horribly nasty about it. I wasn't wearing a jacket purposely so I wouldn't have to carry it, so you can imagine my confusion when she told me rudely to check my "jacket" (short sleeved, cropped, button up fuzzy thing...clearly not a jacket). We went back and forth, and even after I told her I was wearing a see through undershirt underneath because i hadn't been planning on taking it off, that it wasn't an effing jacket, again and again, she made me check it. In the nastiest way possible. Thank god it was dark downstairs so the whole bar couldn't see my nips. I would have left but I was meeting people.
So when we were leaving my friend Steve was given the wrong jacket. The coat check girl didn't believe him. He was totally calm (which I wouldn't have been) and explained again how it wasn't his jacket, there was a mistake, etc etc. She told him to leave. He said he wasn't leaving without his jacket. She called security. I'm not kidding. He explained to security what happened, the guy made her look again, and she found it. She didn't even apologize.
Both Steve and I spoke to the manager separately and he didn't seem to care. He sort of listened, gave generic consoling, and we left. It totally ruined our night.
Go there if you 1) want to get into a fight, because unless you are ghandi you will want to 2) like bars that resemble freshman year frat parties in basements 3) smoke cigarettes and don't like going outside to do it
Otherwise, buy a pack of cigarettes, sit at home and watch the hills, and ask someone to karate chop you in the neck. You'll get the same effect.
Awesoooommeeeeeeeee NYC spot – This place is really cool. Great music... nothing too G*ettO. They usually play a combo of hip-hop, rap and R&B. The staff there is really friendly too. It's mostly girls that work there and my friends couldn't stop drooling over them (especially the cocktail waitress and the coat check girl). They're signs all over the place about watching your bags and stuff but hey it's New York City... you should always watch your bag. They're also all pretty psycho about checking ID's. They had to log my friend's ID in a book because it was "unscanable". I asked the bartender about the ID thing and she said that since the police station is so close they get raided a lot and it's a huge fine for each person that isn't of age so they have to scan everyyyyy ID and keep a log book of the ones that don't scan... it's strict but at least if anything goes down they have a record of everyone that was there... makes sense. If you get there before 8pm drinks are half price and there is a special at the bar. If you buy 4 drinks (per person) you get the 5th one free! But wait!!! The coolest thing about this place --> you can get delivered food and eat it here! Ask them for their menu book! It consists of a book of all of the food spots in the area that deliver and the delivery man will bring the food right inside the lounge to you!!!! It's soooo New York! I had an awesome time and even talked to the manager about having my birthday party here!
TMI...TOO MUCH INFOMATION!!!! – Went to Karma on wimp!.
Of cause I was asked for Identification--> (great;, I feel alot safer, lol!)
One wrist band for my wrist, one for my hand bag???--> okkkaaaaay!!!
Now the part that made me write this review...kind of scarey!!!
The person at the door takes a picture of your Drivers Licence...HMMMM?????????? A Hooka Bar that wants all your identity on a snap shot.
Instead, I gave them a photo ID without ALL my information. Figure if they want all that info they can write down the color of my eyes and hair and call it a night! NOW, this puts me to think..........................ID THEFT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?
One of my favorite places in the city – Whether its your initial destination or just a plan b Karma is a GREAT bet. The bouncers are very cool and never cause a problem or get on a power trip. All the bartenders are REALLY cool and pretty cute too. Upstairs is more of a bar/lounge and downstairs has dancing and more of a club vibe so theres something for everyone. But best of all you can still smoke in the place so theres no running outside into the cold to have a smoke.
Not worth the trip......try any other Hookah Bar – Now I have to admit, I went here for lunch on a friday. The place was empty, except for staff. Since it as happy hour (1-8pm) I figured the hookah might be on special; it wasn't which is understandable. The price for the hookah was $16 (which is about average for NYC). The hookah was served in a short hookah but I knew right off the back things were not right. The hookah water became a dark rust color the more I used it. I asked the bartender if something was wrong with the hookah and she stated "it's probably turning colors from being in the sun". I was indoors for god sake! After a few minutes I asked her to dump the water and refill the bases. She removed the 'head' and applied it to a new hookah. I thought that was good gesture. The smoke was good and steady (Cherry & Vanilla mix) not very flavorful but consistent. As with any hookah heat is needed to maintain a smoke. I asked for a new charcoal (one piece is given with the hookah) which she replaced rather quickly. After 20 minutes, the smoke again started to fade; which I inturn stated that I may need another coal. She stated that the head usually only last 2 coals (who made this rule?). Ok I figured she knew best (even though other Hookah bars have replaced my coals until I was blue in the face) for the tobacco they supply. When I went to pay my bill, I was amazed that they charged me an EXTRA $4 FOR THAT ONE PIECE OF COAL. I couldn't believe it....what Bull$#it. I would never go there again.
Pros: Decor is interesting; music can be requested during slow times; Happy Hour Beer ($3)
Cons: Flavorless Hookah tobacco; Extra charge for coals; unclean hookah pipes;
If you decide to go...best of luck to you. But they will not be getting my hard earned dollars again.
Smoke on! I'm out!
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