Kava Bars in the USA

What is a Kava Bar?

kava bar picture from the USA

Kava bars in the USA, also known as kava lounges, are places where people can go to relax and unwind after a long day at work. They are typically decorated with materials from the South Pacific, like bamboo and palm leaves. They serve kava drinks — a beverage made from the root of a pepper plant—and other drinks.

Although kava is consumed for its relaxing effects, it is not an intoxicant and does not cause intoxication. It has been used for thousands of years in the South Pacific as a social drink that helps people feel calm and happy while they talk to each other.

History of Kava bars in the USA

Kava bars are not a new phenomenon—they’ve been around for hundreds of years. In fact, the first kava bar in the United States was opened in Hawaii back in 1994 by Yvonne Hunt. However, it wasn’t until about 2017 that kava bars really started to take off across America.

Hawaiin kava bar from the 90 or 00’s

Boca Raton Nakava is a kava bar in Boca Raton, Florida. It is one of the oldest kava bars in the United States, and it’s been open since 1988. The owners are two brothers, who opened it together after discovering kava while living in Fiji. They were inspired by the culture there and wanted to bring some of it back home to their own community.

In 1988, they opened up a small store that sold t-shirts and other souvenirs from Fiji. They also served kava drinks as a way to bring more customers into their store. It was an immediate success! People loved the taste of kava and appreciated being able to relax at their local shop without having to go all the way downtown for a drink.

The brothers soon realized how popular their drink was becoming, so they decided to expand their store into a full-blown bar selling kava drinks every day of the week (Monday through Sunday). They even added a hookah lounge upstairs so customers could enjoy flavored tobacco while sipping on their favorite beverage!

Nakava kava bar

Kava Bars in the USA - the legislative challenges.

The first legislative challenge came in 2003 when the state of Hawaii banned kava bars on the grounds that they were “nuisances.” Although the law was designed to prevent businesses from serving alcohol, it also included kava as an illegal substance. This ban was eventually lifted due to widespread protest from residents and business owners alike.

In 2005, a similar situation arose in Florida when lawmakers passed legislation banning all types of kava bars from operating within their borders. Purportedly, this law was passed based on concerns about health risks associated with kava consumption. Specifically, the so-called “health risks” were liver damage and cancer. However, there have been no documented cases of either condition being caused by drinking kava tea.

In both cases these challenges were either defeated or adjusted to allow kava to fall within standard food and beverage licensing for current and future kava bar owners.

What other food and drinks are served in Kava bars in the USA

To cater for different tastes, kava bars in the US are serving a variety of food and drink options.

Kava bars serve kratom, fresh fruit, kombucha, and other drinks. Kava bars also serve kava, which is a root that is used to make tea and can be mixed with other ingredients to create a drink.

Kratom is an herb that has been used for centuries as a natural pain reliever and to help with anxiety and depression. Fresh fruit such as watermelon and pineapple are often served at kava bars. This is because they are believed to have healing properties that can counteract any negative side effects from drinking kava tea. Kombucha is another popular beverage at kava bars because it contains probiotics that help improve digestion.

How many kava bars are in the USA and where are they?

Kava bars are popping up all over the United States, with several new locations opening each month. The number of kava bars has grown steadily since 2012, when there were only five in the entire country. As of 2019, there were more than 1,200 kava bars in the United States alone.

The majority of these locations are located in California and Hawaii, with some scattered throughout other states like New York and Washington. Each bar serves a range of different kava varieties and preparation methods—and some even offer other beverages to complement your kava experience.