I finally tried Kava - it was worth the wait.

Much ado has been made about KavaClub. Before this hotspot opened on Main Street, Richmonders were treated to a year's worth of headlines detailing the bureaucratic hold-up, courtesy of the Virginia Department of Health. I had been dying to try Kava for years. An old boyfriend of mine came home with a bag of it in powder form when he returned from a family trip to Fiji. He bragged about drinking it in a communal coconut shell, passed around in a ceremony. I begged him to prepare it for me, but he never did. I chalked it up to performance anxiety.

Kava in a coconut shell

What is Kava?

Per the KavaClub website, Kava is a non-alcoholic drink made from the root of the kava kava plant. This shrub is a member of the pepper plant family, grown in the Pacific Islands. Used for centuries in social and ceremonial practices, Kava’s popularity has spread internationally as more communities embrace its mental and physical benefits.

Kava Club in Richmond VA

What are the effects of Kava?

I was told it reduced stress and anxiety and produced a mild euphoria. Who wouldn't want to try it? When we went to KavaClub, I was prepared to take a Lyft home afterward, but the effects were different than expected. Unlike alcohol, you don't get the spins or a sudden lack of good judgment. It took about 20 minutes to feel the effects, but I can tell you it trickles in like a serene wave. My shoulders dropped at least two inches. I could feel myself smiling at my husband adoringly. My breath was deeper, and life in general just felt...blissful. I had a couple of drinks, and still drove afterward, no problem. 

KavaClub: A must-visit

Honestly, I'm glad my first experience drinking Kava was in a gorgeous setting, served by professionals who source their Kava from a trusted farmer in Fiji, then test it at a certified lab. I was this close to being served by a kid winging it in a garage in Orange County. 

Stepping into KavaClub is like stepping into a different world. The vibe was tropical, a little sixties, with updated touches, such as hanging chairs and modern art. In bars that serve alcohol, you step into a wall of noise and have to fight for the attention of bartenders. Then once you get your drinks, you're screaming over the din to catch up with friends. Since KavaClub doesn't serve alcohol, it's naturally quieter - even serene. The bartenders are skilled at combining fresh flavors with a Polynesian twist; you can even order a shot of Kava in a coconut shell. 

Kava Club Richmond

Kava is wavy on a molecular level, and their branding is an homage to the scientific wonder of it. The walls and menus are rife with wavy, natural shapes that make you also feel a little natural and wavy. Also unlike bars, students can stop in for Kava to ease their nerves while cramming for finals. Parents can unwind with drinks while their young child plays on the couch. Perhaps most importantly, it's a wonderful space for sober people to grab a relaxing shot of Kava followed by a mocktail. This community-focused social club is all about human connection. Perhaps that's the most intoxicating part of all. 

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