Cihan Egin is the proud owner of two shisha bars in Mullheim. With the "Steampipe" and the "Roots" he brings innovation and metropolitan flair in the middle of Landle. And that, although he had nothing to do with shisha smoking in the beginning.
"Somehow out of the line"
"People come to us and are thrilled to experience this big city flair in the middle of the province" – Cihan Egin wanted to achieve exactly that with his shisha bar "Steampipe" in the middle of Mullheim’s industrial area: "Many think they would rather be in Hamburg or Stuttgart and not in a small town near Freiburg."
Opened the bar in 2017. But he had already been carrying the idea around with him for a while. Cihan’s father owned the warehouse where you can smoke shisha today. Before renting it to someone else, he preferred to leave it to his son. Even before the opening, the father of a young daughter gave it a lot of thought: "I wanted to stand out, somehow out of the line – That worked quite well."
" Our style makes our audience"
Cihan is a native of Mullheim. After graduating from high school, he studied International Business in Freiburg and Cambridge. In England he finally did his Bachelor’s degree. After internships in Manchester, Istanbul and Cyprus, he worked for various companies, mainly in sales. Even then he felt a certain affinity for event management, he explains. When his father approached him to offer him part of the warehouse, Cihan still thought long and hard: "I drew up business plans and did a lot of research. The idea of opening a hookah bar was not born out of passion at all. Monetary interests were in the foreground. I can still remember how I went alone to a shisha fair in Dortmund and asked the dealers – they thought I was crazy! But from the beginning one thing was clear to me: somehow I want to stand out from the crowd of hookah bars, do something different."
No sooner said than done: The Mullheimer accepted his father’s offer and set to work: "Then I called an interior designer from Turkey. I told him what was going on and that I wanted a rustic flair to match the location. We then planned the set-up together via e-mail and WhatsApp. Later, the furniture was brought from Turkey by truck, together with an employee of the architect, who supervised the installation on site."When asked if it wasn’t a big financial effort in the beginning, he answers: "I don’t care about the few fast pennies and earn more in the long run."That has paid off.
The distinctive style that prevails in the Steampipe hit like a bomb. After a week, the place was packed night after night. The ten pipes Cihan bought at the beginning had to be expanded by 40 after eight days. The pipes have to be uniform, that’s also part of the style: "We want to maintain a healthy professional distance from our customers. Nobody goes behind the bar and takes something just because they know the boss. And when you put your feet on the table, we ask you to put them down. Nobody does that in a restaurant."
T his philosophy also includes the ban on tracksuits, flip-flops and sweatpants at the Steampipe: "A certain amount of clothing is simply part of our style. We want to keep this style, it makes our audience."The ban has been received positively in large part, he says.
The success of the bar made a second one appear in the other part of the hall. Every night Cihan had to send people away, he felt sorry for that. So he opened the "Roots" next to the Steampipe. Like its big brother, the Roots has a concept: "We wanted a stark contrast to the Steampipe. So we thought we’d do something close to nature."In Roots you can find a lot of wood, it’s not as loud as over there, also the music is a bit more relaxed. So partying and getting down are just one door away from each other.
The team of 18 regularly organizes events in the bar. DJ’s come to play live music. Now and then there’s live music. At the tattoo night you could get a tattoo right after the whistle. In the summer, when the large terrace is open, the annual dance takes place.
" At first I did not even know how to build a head"
"It’s crazy how fast it’s all grown, we now serve around 200 guests in the summer when it’s full. That is already crass. We can’t wait to open again" – Cihan and a programmer have developed their own project with a digital menu and drinks list, including Covid-19 guest registration. The project is called "myqards" and is now also available to all restaurateurs permanently free of charge. "By restaurateurs, for restaurateurs," he says. This eliminates the annoying note writing.
The guy who actually only opened a shisha bar for economic reasons has since become a great lover: "At first, I didn’t even know how to build a head. A colleague helped me out." Now he smokes one shisha a day in any case: "I allow myself the one hour a day. Simply ne horny pipe and get the head freely. Somehow shisha smoking has become a modern gentleman’s club for me. This is also how I imagine my perfect smoking experience: Good friends, a horny head. The Shisha must be at least as qualitative as the conversations, then it’s perfect."