A former downtown restaurant building could become home to a hookah bar and lounge.
Christopher and Elondia Grant are requesting to open the business at 120 E. Mulberry St., where more than one restaurant previously operated.
The Grants spoke during a public hearing during the Goldsboro City Council meeting Monday, as part of their request for a special-use permit to operate the business downtown.
The special-use permit requests the opening of a place of entertainment with Alcoholic Beverage Control permits.
“Me and my brother and my cousin and I are interested in opening a hookah lounge in downtown Goldsboro, as was stated by the planning director,” said Elondia Grant, during the hearing.
“We’re looking to solve a problem because at this moment, Goldsboro doesn’t have a hookah lounge or something similar to that form of entertainment. So our solution is to bring a lounge to Goldsboro that will target military members, young professionals and tourists.”
Hookahs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are water pipes used to smoke flavored tobacco.
“Our lounge will be located in downtown Goldsboro and be open seven days a week,” Grant said.
Justin Thomas, who also spoke to the City Council about the bar and lounge, said the hookah bar and lounge would serve beer, wine, cider and premium tobacco and not marijuana or cannabidiol or CBD.
Cannabidiol is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of marijuana, according to the Harvard University Medical School.
“Our goal is to provide a welcoming, safe and fun environment for local young professionals to enjoy local wines, beers and premium tobacco,” Thomas said.
Thomas said in addition to smoking and drink options, the business would function as a sports bar and also offer tastings and paint-and-sip events.
The site is in the city’s historic district and any outside improvements to the building would require a certificate of appropriateness, said Kenny Talton, Goldsboro interim planning director. The changes would need to be approved by the Historic District Commission.
The floor plan for the 2,311-square-foot building shows 14 hookah tables that can accommodate a total of 56 people, a retail area and a bar area with seating for eight people, restrooms, a storage area and a hookah preparation area.
If approved, the business would employ six workers and be open Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to midnight and Saturday and Sunday from noon to midnight.
The Goldsboro Planning Commission will consider the request at its next meeting and make a recommendation to council, which could vote on the proposal during its Oct. 4 meeting.