Kava Unveiled: A Taste of Tradition at the Kava Bar

Rooted in Polynesia relaxation, we’re taking a journey into liquid tranquility by unearthing kava culture and exploring kava bars!

This article includes information like:

  • What is kava?
  • What is the atmosphere like in a kava bar?
  • What does drinking kava do?
  • Is kava a drug?
  • Is kava safer than alcohol?
  • How to enjoy kava responsibly

Keep reading to unearth the growing world of kava bars!

Losing My Kava Virginity at Our Local Kava Bar

The early Friday sun shone down on my boss and me as we crossed the parking lot of our town’s first local kava bar.

We pulled the door open promptly at 10 a.m., which is not the ideal time for trying kava drinks.

Its relaxing and sociability-enhancing effects are more desirable closer to the end of the day. 

Nonetheless, we are busy women and couldn’t find any other time for this important research.

So morning non-alcoholic drinking commenced.

We stepped into the tranquil enclosure, seeking the spiritual serenity and camaraderie this traditional Western Pacific drink offers, and were both surprised.

We expected to be greeted with a harmony of earth tones and ambient whispers of leaves caressed by a gentle breeze.

Instead, there were just a couple of guys- one behind a large live-edge bartop washing dishes and another sitting at a table on a laptop, furiously creating a spreadsheet.

However generic the surroundings seemed, the sacredness of the kava was still palpable in the air, whispering tales of ancestral traditions and celestial connections. 

We summoned the kava master and ordered the most traditional preparation they offered.

He began preparing our drink, his movements a dance of tradition and respect.

There are many options available on the menu at kava bars, sometimes even including kratom in your drinks.

Before doing that, learn more about Kratom.

Finally, he presented us with two small coconut shells and a concoction that was murky yet inviting. 

A shared anticipation wove around us

We found a spot on the patio to enjoy the morning air and make sure no one could hear us gasp and choke if we ended up hating it. 

I hesitantly reached for the coconut shell, offering a silent prayer to the spirits enveloping us, and took the first sip.

It had a robust flavor and tasted earthy, a blend of the ground it sprung from and the waters it mingled with, a liquid whisper of the South Pacific. 

Almost instantly, a numbing sensation pirouetted around my tongue.

A calming warmth spread through my being.

The gentle touch of the spirits acknowledging our presence, perhaps? 

I looked at my boss and gave her a “now or never” face. 

Her lips curled into an unspoken smile as she took her sip.

“Uhg, that is bitter!” she exclaimed.

“Taste’s like liquid tranquility,” I joked.

“It’s like drinking mud,” she quipped back, feeling the instant numbing effects on her tongue, too. 

As we sat and sipped, the loosening effects of the ancient kava kava definitely began to take hold. 

Pretty soon, we were talking (very spiritedly) about everything from relationships to whether or not death by firing squad would be appropriate for certain politicians- and it was all hilarious

The numbing embrace of the intoxicating beverage seemed to dance in tandem with the humorous symphony unfolding between us. 

My boss, her cheeks flushed, whispered, “Do you think the ancestors are with us right now?” 

The visual sent us into another fit of laughter, the numbness of our tongues making our words sound like a secret language.

Bees around us buzzed louder, seemingly joining our laughter or perhaps mocking our feeble attempts to grasp the spiritual essence of the kava drink.

The end of our time at the kava bar

After a few hours, we knew our spiritual journey turned into a comedic ballet of clumsy words and uncoordinated movements had ended. 

As we emerged back into the realm of routine and reality, our steps were lighter.

The bees’ buzz seemed like a playful wink from the universe. 

“Liquid tranquility,” she murmured, her words a mixture of amusement and profound wisdom.

Our shared laughter became a silent hymn to the kava spirits, who, we hoped, enjoyed the show.

Keep reading to unearth the growing world of kava and learn more about the kava community!

Tell us if you have ever tried kava in the comment section!

What is Kava and Finding a Kava Bar Near You

Kava, also known as kava kava, is a beverage made from kava root.

The kava plant (Piper methysticum) is an integral part of the cultures of many South Pacific Islands, including:

  • Fiji
  • Hawaii
  • Vanuatu
  • And Samoa

Traditionally, kava is used in various ceremonies, including those involving conflict resolution, welcoming guests, and communing with the divine. 

These ceremonies often have strict protocols regarding the preparation and serving of kava.

Beyond ceremonial contexts, kava is also consumed in more informal, social settings. 

Kava bars are the perfect pleasant social meeting ground.

Interestingly, St. Petersburg, FL, has the most kava bars.

You can find a kava bar near you using this interactive map.

It is often used as a means of bringing people together to relax and converse.

Some Polynesians believe that kava can connect them to the spiritual world and their ancestors, and it is used in rituals to seek guidance or blessings.

The traditional preparation of kava involves taking the ground root and mixing it with water, creating an earthy beverage.

Nowadays, kava is also available in powder form, which can be mixed with water, making the preparation process much easier.

What Does Drinking Kava Do?

Kava has relaxing and calming effects. 

It induces a sense of mild euphoria and is often used as an all-natural remedy to reduce anxiety and stress.

Kava can also lead to numbness around the mouth, lips, and tongue due to the presence of kavalactones, the psychoactive compounds in kava.

In recent years, kava bars have been gaining popularity in various parts of the world.

Serving kava in a bar-like setting equipped with kava bartenders allows people to experience the beverage and its effects in a social but non-alcoholic atmosphere.

Is Kava a Drug?

Kava is categorized as a psychoactive substance due to its effects on the mind and body. 

Adding kratom to your kava drinks is legal at the federal level but banned in several US states, so that might not be an option at the kava bar where you live.

Kava can indeed be considered a drug due to the psychoactive compounds called kavalactones.

However, the categorization of substances as “drugs” can vary depending on the context, legal definitions, and local regulations. 

Many places regulate kava differently from controlled or illegal drugs.

It is legally available for purchase and consumption, often being categorized as a dietary supplement or herbal remedy.

Is Kava Safer Than Alcohol?

Comparing the safety of kava to booze isn’t straightforward, as each has distinct pharmacological properties, effects, and risks associated with its consumption. 

Here are a few key considerations:

  1. Kava is generally not considered to be addictive
  2. Kava does have psychoactive effects, including relaxation and mild euphoria, but does not impair cognitive function to the same extent
  3. Kava does not appear to have the same level of social and health-related problems associated with excessive consumption

Get buzzed and avoid the nasty hangover.

With this information, it’s reasonable to assume that consuming kava is safer than consuming alcohol. 

However, given the distinct profiles and risks of kava and alcohol, it’s crucial for individuals to assess their own health, habits, and preferences. 

Please Enjoy Your Kava Beverages Responsibly

Moderate consumption and understanding individual reactions to kava are critical.

The quality and preparation method of kava plays a significant role in its safety.

Individual health conditions and medications can also impact the safety of consuming the traditional drink.

Kava has psychoactive properties that can impair motor skills, reaction times, and cognitive functions, which are crucial for safe driving. 

You should not drive or operate heavy machinery after consuming kava.

Ensure your safety and the safety of others by avoiding driving while impaired by any substance.

It is also important to make an informed decision based on individual health, the context of use, and consideration of potential risks and benefits.

Will you be hitting up a kava bar?

The kava community provides an alcohol-free option that promotes health, creativity, and connection with others, where kava bars act as a hub.

Have you ever tried kava or been to a kava bar?

They are not your average coffee house, for sure!

What was your experience at a kava bar like?

Tell us in the comment section; we would love to hear from you!

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Lia works as a meditation teacher, mentor, and spiritual guide for anyone seeking lasting happiness and fulfillment. After earning a bachelor's degree in health sciences from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, she spent 17 years as an entrepreneur in the food service industry. It was from fulfilling leadership and management duties in this industry that Lia became interested in what makes and keeps people happy. In her quest to uncover the golden rules of lasting happiness, she traveled to India and studied meditation at Ekam-Oneness, A World Center For Enlightenment, and then became a Certified Meditation Instructor with Chopra Global in 2020. Today, Lia combines her knowledge of science and spirit in classes and workshops on meditation and science-based spirituality practices. She writes to share information and insights about meditation, happiness, personal growth, healing, and self-discovery. Lia lives with her family in Montana, where she enjoys hiking, snowboarding, adventuring, and reveling in the beauty of the natural world.
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