Kava Bars

The sacred kava plant has been enjoyed by the people of the Pacific Islands for countless generations. Its renowned ability to help in managing day-to-day stress* makes it a natural to feature in a bar. Kava bars are thought to have originated in Vanuatu, although they are springing up more frequently (including in Boca Raton, Florida) as more people find out about kava's tremendously beneficial effects.

The kava bar was originally referred to as a nakamal, and these could be as rustic as a gathering under a particularly large tree, or perhaps a tin-roofed shed, where you could enjoy kava in the company of friends. While Vanuatu's nakamals were traditionally only open to men, modern times have seen the rise of urban kava bars that are open to both sexes. Touring Port Vila and want to get the flavor of the local kava? Look for the distinctive colored lanterns Vanuatu kava bars hang over the storefronts to show they're open for business! Like the traditional nakamal, public kava bars tend to be casual, focusing on the social rather than ritual aspects of kava drinking.

Tourism is big business in Vanuatu and other South Pacific countries, but it can be a rather manufactured, artificial experience if you just stick to the large cities. The kava bar can be a great place to meet locals off the beaten tourist path. Plus, if you hit it off, you might be invited to participate in a village kava ceremony!

If you do decide to explore the local kava scene, make sure to read up on the customs of the country or countries you'll be visiting, as protocols regarding kava can differ widely. For instance, in Fiji one claps when receiving a bowl of kava then claps again after drinking it, while in Vanuatu the traditional toast, "Bula!", is offered after drinking kava. One custom that cuts across cultures is that of draining kava in one gulp to minimize the often bitter, slightly muddy taste!

These days you'll find a number of more "upscale" kava bars opening up on Hawaii and even in a few locations in the mainland United States. While there may be lingering prejudice toward mainland kava bars, many of these locales are in California, where kava can be shipped direct from Hawaii, making it quite fresh. Other pioneering kava bars have sprung up in the southern United States (Florida, North Carolina, and Texas), and even as far north as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

Often, a kava bar is a labor of love established by people who have been to kava ceremonies in the South Pacific and wanted to bring that same sense of community and social bonding to the place where they live. Kava bar proprietors may or may not be of South Pacific heritage, but in either case, they're likely to know what good kava is, how to obtain it, and other ways to make their patrons' kava experience shine.

Kava bars, true to their name, generally only serve one thing--kava drinks. Some of the more sophisticated kava bars might serve variations on kava such as chocolate kava, or kava and juice drinks, but the basis is always kava. Kava bars are also always intended to be social gathering places, and are often laid out more like lounges or coffeehouses than the stereotypical bar. Kava's community-strengthening powers have prompted some to say that there are no strangers in a kava bar.

Here at Kona Kava Farm, we know that despite the public's growing awareness of kava benefits, for many on "the mainland" there simply are no local kava bar options. We make it possible to still enjoy kava even if you are nowhere near a kava bar. We grow and ship the highest quality dried kava root, in addition to a number of kava mixes that we've developed in tasty flavors like Chai Spice and Banana/Vanilla. We hope everyone gets to experience the healthy effects of kava consumption, whether or not you have access to a kava bar.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to cure, treat, diagnose, or prevent any disease.