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Kava Bar Culture on the Rise

By Loren Adams 

A plant that is prevalent in the Pacific Islands has made its way to Tampa. The root of the plant is used for its euphoric and sedative feeling. This consumption of this plant has been recognized by the World Health Organization and has been considered a usual low level health risk. The kava plant or also known as kava has been developing in the Tampa Bay area. Although the plant has been sold as a herbal supplement, it’s selling in a new way and people who are investing in the plant are making a profit by incorporating the plant as a tea, coffee, juice, you name it and you have it. 

Recently, in the Tampa Bay area there have been new bars added to the scene. It’s not your average bar where you find yourself hungover or groggy in the morning time. A bar that promotes a calming, relaxing, and alcohol-free atmosphere. They call them kava bars. 

Kava Culture Co. has been one of the many kava drinking spots that have started taking off in the Tampa Bay area. This new bar promotes a healthy lifestyle specializing in coffee, tea and natural elixirs for your daily stress relief. 

Currently at the Kava Culture Co. business has been great. Ally Kroll, a “kavatender” at the Kava Culture Bar, said that Kava Culture Co. has been busier lately and gives more insight as to what this local business is about.

“Here at Kava Culture we specialize in tea and coffee,” said Kroll. “This is a healthier social alternative instead of going to a regular bar. Go on our website and our Facebook page you will see the events that we have going on. We have everything from open mic night to yoga and if you want to come in we are open at 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.”

Kroll encourages college students to come in and give their local business a try. She said that although there is an age requirement, college students are welcome here and that she encourages them to come here during the week to help with stress.

“Our age requirement is 18 or older and a regular bar is 21 and older and if you come here and try our drinks you will leave feeling better than you did at a regular bar,” said Kroll. “You will leave here feeling healthy and euphoric.” 

Similar to Kava Culture Co., another kava bar that has been around for a while in the Tampa Bay area is Mad Chiller World Kava Lounge. Located in the South Howard Ave. area, open for 24 hours, and has delivery service through Uber Eats, these are some of the positive qualities that Mad Chiller World Kava Lounge has to offer. 

Sara, a server who works at Mad Chiller Lounge gave a brief idea of what Mad Chiller World is  all about and what they have to offer its customers. 

“Here at Mad Chiller we sell kava in the juice and tea form. It definitely will make you feel a calm mood and make you relaxed,” said Sarah. “Coming in here, it will make you feel like you are in a quiet coffee shop, that is what it is usually like here. Also and if you don’t feel like coming out, because of the virus you could always get your drinks delivered by uber eats. That way you can still have an experience.” 

Kava bars are still somewhat fresh and fairly new in the Tampa Bay area. There are those who have had the kava experience and many have not. There are also those who have had the kava experience and enjoyed it, and there are those who have not. 

“Yes, I have had the kava bar experience. Everyone was lounging around on couches with blankets provided by the establishment and it was a very chill vibe throughout,” said Wambui Mbithua, a senior at The University of Tampa. “Our server gave my friends and I samples to try because we were very hesitant and we did not like it. However, we did like the idea of how holistic it is though.” 

Gabii Akins, a senior at UT also gave an account of her experience of the local bars. 

“It was nice, I really liked the coffee I had, it woke me up and put me in a better frame of mind,” said Akins. “I definitely recommend that others try it. It’s something new and I definitely will be trying  it again.”

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