Spiritual Haze has always been something of a media favorite, if not a hospitality industry curiosity-cum-pioneer in Worcester. The hookah lounge was the first true hookah-focused business in town, an act quickly followed by several other spots around the city. And the business’s story – proprietor Victoria Mariano started it as an outgrowth of coursework while still an undergraduate at Clark University – was unique. Mariano focused on attracting an 18+ crowd who wanted nightlife, but couldn’t go to 21+ bars or didn’t want alcohol-focused crowds. The business and Mariano have been written up several times, including in <I>Worcester Mag<P> and the <I>Telegram<P>.
Now, ongoing complaints from neighbors have led to a status hearing for the lounge, and for Mariano to consider moving the business to a new location, potentially cutting its geographic ties to the Clark campus that birthed it and supplies many of its patrons.
In this week’s Worcester Mag, we look at the situation facing Mariano, who will attend the status hearing in front of the License Commission this Thursday.