While the proliferation of websites selling kava online means you can easily purchase and brew your own kava at home, for an initial experience nothing beats going to a kava bar: there you can try kava for the first time in an atmosphere that is pleasant, congenial, and offers the opportunity to discover kava’s potential for social enhancement by making friends with other patrons. If you’re interested in discovering your own kava bar, California may be one of the best places in the mainland U.S. to start your search. Since kava root has gained traction as an effective alcohol alternative, kava bars in California and other states have become a growing trend. Because of their West Coast location, California kava bars tends to serve some of the freshest, highest quality kava.
Kava bars are popping up in many locations in the U.S., from states with tropical climates like Florida and Hawaii to a newly minted kava bar in Austin, Texas, and even as far north as Philadelphia! Of course, by virtue of their location Hawaiian kava bars will always have the freshest preparations of kava; it’s easy when you can almost go into the backyard and harvest it! However, if you’re interested in visiting a kava bar California has a lot to recommend it as a growing epicenter of kava culture on the mainland. As with other new trends that now enjoy wide appeal, such as gourmet sushi, tea bars and the yoga studio, California was among the first states to see the potential of the kava bar. For years, kava bars in California have been catering to customers who wanted to find a place to experience kava’s enjoyable and therapeutic effects. Not only do they have some of the freshest kava in the continental United States, but many Californian establishments combine kava bars with other services such as juice bars, yoga, and meditation studios— all the combined services you could ask for to restore your body and mind to a state of relaxation and centeredness.
Many people turn to kava bars for the “full” kava experience, akin to partaking of kava in company the traditional way. The best kava bars have a quiet atmosphere, low lighting, and calming music which creates the right setting for an enjoyable kava experience. Kava bars often serve their beverages in a coconut shell in homage to Pacific tradition, but beyond that customer choice rather than rigid adherence to tradition is the norm at your modern kava bar. Though a few people may go for a traditional unflavored kava brew that’s faithful to the authentic kava experience, most people like to order kava drinks that have been flavored with fruit juice, coconut milk, chocolate or other add-ons. Many Pacific Island cuisine and fusion restaurants also offer kava in their bars or on the drinks menu, for patrons who want to sample this authentic island beverage with their meal (though we recommend drinking kava after eating, because a potent preparation will numb the inside of your mouth).
Kava bars are also appealing to people who don’t like the culture of a traditional bar or pub with a menu centered around alcoholic beverages. Kava is much milder than alcohol in its relaxing effects, and doesn’t have the same tendency to cause poor judgment or aggression in consumers. It will not intoxicate you to the same degree or in the same way as alcohol, and even people who drink large quantities of kava every evening (Pacific Islands style) report that they do not experience a next-day hangover from kava consumption. Because kava kava is mild compared to alcohol and not associated with Western drinking culture, some kava proponents have suggested that “kava bar” is a label of convenience more than anything else. Perhaps in the near future, we’ll be going to kava cafés or kava lounges for a midday de-stress or after-work chill session. In fact, one of our favorite kava bars, in San Francisco, California, is called the Kava Lounge, with a laid-back atmosphere and soft lighting to match.
Whether you want to find a kava bar to sample kava in a more traditional setting, to try out a wide variety of kava beverages, or to experience the camaraderie of drinking kava in a social setting, the many kava bars California offers are sure to please any kava drinker’s palette!