A man sitting in front of a car smoking a shisha pipe

Park Royal in northwest London is sandwiched between the busy hubs and high streets of Harlesden, Acton and Alperton. It’s a heavily industrialised area. What you might not expect to see tucked in among the large warehouses, however, are shisha lounges. 

Over the past few years, there has been an entrepreneurial shift from the previously well-known London mecca of shisha, Edgware Road, to Park Royal. 

Each shisha spot in Park Royal is categorised by its own distinct identity. Beit El-Zeytoun sits alongside the Grand Union Canal. The cosy interiors are filled with summer loungers, earthy decor and other attempts to recreate the atmosphere of Beirut in England, minus the weather.

Whether you fancy a night of smoking a pineapple head blue mist shisha at a bougie establishment or a low-fi apple and mint whilst watching the football, Park Royal has it all.

Pipe Dreams Zine explores this burgeoning hub for London’s Arab diaspora through interviews, photography and graphic illustrations.

تقع منطقة "بارك رويال" في شمال غرب لندن بين محاور مناطق هارلسدن وأكتون وألبيرتون وشوارعها الرئيسية المزدحمة، وهي منطقة صناعية مزدحمة للغاية فلا تتوقع أن تجد مقاهِ للشيشة (النرجيلة) بين المستودعات الكبيرة.

شهدت الأعوام القليلة الماضية تحولًا تجاريًا من المقصد الشهير سابقًا للشيشة في لندن، شارع "إدجوير رود"، إلى منطقة بارك رويال.

يتسم كل مقهى للشيشة في بارك رويال بهويته المميزة، ويقع مقهى "بيت الزيتون" على ضفاف قناة "غراند يونيون"، وتشتمل تصميماته الداخلية المريحة على مقاعد للاستلقاء وديكورات ترابية ومحاولات إضافية لإعادة إحياء أجواء بيروت في إنجلترا.

وسواء كنت تتخيل قضاء ليلة من تدخين شيشة الأناناس ذات الدخان الأزرق في مكان مضاء بالشموع أو شيشة التفاح والنعناع أثناء مشاهدة مباريات كرة القدم فكل ما تتمناه موجود في بارك رويال.

تستكشف مجلة Pipe Dreams الإلكترونية هذا المركز المزدهر للمهجر العربي في لندن من خلال المقابلات والتصوير الفوتوغرافي والرسومات التوضيحية.

Zain Dada is a writer, cultural producer, researcher, and award-winning filmmaker.  He is the co-founder of Khidr Collective Zine - a zine platforming the work of British Muslims. In 2020, Zain co-founded Khidr Comix Lab - a space for Black, Brown and Muslim storytellers to innovate, experiment and create within the comix medium. Zain’s directing credits include 2019 Outspoken Prize winning short visual poem, The Moon is a Meme, and 2020 Outspoken Prize nominated animation short, Otherstani. Zain is a Winston Churchill Fellow after publishing his research on The Future of Community Arts.

Sana Badri is a British-Tunisian artist. Her motivation to create images is primarily to build and maintain meaningful connections with her subjects, and foster a visual dialogue that speaks to those inside those communities. She has exhibited at the V&A, and been published by the V&A, Elephant magazine, Oomk zine and Huck online.

Nur Hannah Wan is a fine artist and documentary filmmaker. She divides her time between writing, painting and film making, weaving together narratives surrounding local culture and organic, homegrown community. Her work has taken her to places including Sudan, Gambia, and the Turkey-Syria border, working with communities and capturing refugee stories. More recently, she has spent time in Peninsular Malaysia, documenting Malay culture and the dying crafts of the East Coast. Her art & documentary work has been exhibited and published by The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, BBC and the British Library.

Nabil Al-Kinani is a 26 year old British-Iraqi creative practitioner raised in Wembley.  His interests primarilyy lie in "space" and "stories". Specifically, who has access to our spaces? Who designs our spaces? Who possesses the right to change our spaces? How does art and culture impact on the nature of space? How important are our stories when forming new spaces? By day, Nabil is a built environment professional. And at night, he explores the power in story-telling and how our lived experiences can influence placemaking.

Walid Bouchouchi was born in Algiers in 1989. His passion and curiosity led him to study image and its impact on society at Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He describes himself as a visual communicator and founded AKAKIR studio in 2016.

Curated by Zain Dada, co-produced with Nabil Al-Kinani.


Thur 1 July–Sat 17 July 2021

Buy the printed zine

Printed copies are available from Khidr Comix Lab