The kratom bar has emerged as a viable alternative to the traditional nightlife experience. If you’re familiar with this amazing Ayurvedic herb then you already know that it is a potent ethnobotanical that has been embraced by a wide cross-section of working professionals in the Western world.
Although kratom has largely been touted as a natural substitute for those dealing with stress and “brain fog,” it is also worth noting that the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree from which kratom is derived contain alkaloids that are believed to produce effects in the areas of sociability and stamina.
Despite the FDA’s refusal to approve kratom for medicinal use, many in the United States have reported feeling less introverted and more confident after drinking a cup of kratom tea. This makes it ideal for a late night hang with friends and an even better cocktail for those who are looking to make some new friends while out on the town.
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If you’ve typed “kratom bar” into a search engine you probably noticed that there weren’t many results with “kratom” in the title. This is due, in large part, to the controversy surrounding this herb from the coffee family of plants.
As lawmakers have continued to push legislation that would place kratom on a list of controlled substances, proprietors of botanical juice lounges have been careful about how they advertise their drink menu.
If you’re looking to enjoy a kratom drink with friends then you would do well to search for kava bars near you. Kava is another herb from overseas. It is made from the ground root of kava, a plant indigenous to the South Pacific Islands.
Like kratom, kava tea is known to be rejuvenating and restorative, providing users with a sense of calm and well-being. Both compounds have become popular at select night spots in major metropolitan areas.
Kava bars or “nakamals,” as they are sometimes called, are becoming very widespread in the United States and today we’ll talk about why that is.
Kratom’s distinct “aroma” owes to its many alkaloids and flavonoids. The Mitragyna speciosa leaves contain more than 25 unique alkaloids with a range of unique properties.
Kava works in much the same way in that it contains high concentrations of kavalactones. These lactone compounds are said to possess psychoactive properties which contribute to its exhilarating and, in some cases, sleepy effects.
Both of these substances are imbibed in much the same way as alcoholic beverages. They have found favor among individuals who want to enjoy a good hang without suffering the inevitable hangover associated with booze.
There is one substantial difference between kratom and kava, and that’s their pharmacology. In short, kratom can pose a risk of addiction while most agree that kava cannot.
Another key factor to consider is legality—kratom has been under fire over the last few years as a result of the unscrupulous practices of select kratom vendors. After it was revealed that Krypton contained the synthetic painkiller O-desmethyltramadol, many legislators proposed statutes that would classify kratom as a “designer drug.”
By contrast, kava has been gaining momentum as a safe and organic product. Whereas kratom has been banned in some US states and municipalities, kava remains legal all across the country. As a matter of fact, it has even become an intricate part of the cultural fabric of Hawaii.
As with kava, kratom has been espoused by a multitude of teetotalers who prefer its mild to moderate effects to those induced by alcohol. Kava bars have become increasingly more prevalent in America as drinkers have put down their glass of wine and turned to these alternative nightspots for a more health-conscious good time.
Over the last decade (and then some) independent business owners—smoke shops, filling stations, indie record stores, headshops, etc.—have started stocking everything from kratom shots and liquid kratom extracts to kratom juice mixes and kratom blends.
Kratom has become such an in-demand product that some businesses have even implemented kratom vending machines to keep their customers satisfied.
It was only a matter of time before the kava bar took the country by storm, and now that it has people are embracing the change. One of my colleagues told me that she spends the majority of her disposable income on visits to her local kava bar.
“But you work in the kratom industry,” I said. “Why not brew your own kratom tea at home?”
“I can toss ‘n wash some kratom powder any time, but when I go out to a kava bar it’s about the atmosphere and the company. Kava bars let me share my passion with others.”
Her response is emblematic of the spirit that dominates the kratom community. It’s a communal attitude that revolves largely around the notion of like-minded individuals sharing their experiences with one another.
If you thought that the concept of kratom bar seemed particularly bespoke think again. As of this writing, there are more than 100 kava bars operating in the US. There is a minimum of one kava bar in Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, Texas and Washington.
Kavasutra Kava Bar is, by far, the most famous of the bunch with locations in Florida, New York and Colorado. Their NYC lounge on 10th St is currently enjoying an insane amount of foot traffic, and that’s really saying something when one considers the sheer diversity of bars and restaurants in the general area.
Other New York kratom bars include Atla and Ka-Va Kava Bar, so Kavasutra isn’t even the only spot in town. The same can be said for kava bars in Florida. Purple Lotus Bar was the first of such establishments in Delray Beach, South Beach and West Palm Beach.
There are no fewer than 56 kava bars in the Sunshine State with many major nightlife spots like Bula Kava Bar & Coffee Shop operating out of St Petersburg. Island Root is another bestselling bar with locations in Downtown Melbourne, Stuart and Royal Palm Beach.
There are plenty of resources for finding a kava bar that offers kratom drinks. The people behind Kalm With Kava have even added an interactive map to their website that shows you a full, alphabetized list of kava bars in California, Florida, Hawaii and more.
Whenever I visit out of state friends or family members, I make it my business to find a local kava spot because I invariably end up sitting on a stool next to another itinerant visitor. This is as good a way to find other kava bars as any.
You’d be surprised how much you can learn from your fellow kava bar patrons. One dude told me that he travels all over the map for his job and has compiled a long list on a legal pad of all the kava bars he’s found in each state.
“A lot of them amount to speak easies,” he told me. “I know, speak easy sounds funny in 2019, but that’s what they are…little hole-in-the-wall places that are off the beaten path.”
As I mentioned earlier a lot of proprietors are reticent when it comes to their kratom drinks, preferring to advertise themselves solely as a kava bar. This is understandable when one considers the stigmatization that kratom has suffered in recent years.
This can make the prospect of ordering a kratom drink difficult, but don’t let that stop you. Ask your kava bartender what kind of “speciosa” or “mitra” cocktails they can prepare for you.
In some cases, such as Hideout Boba Tea & Kava Bar, the writing is on the proverbial wall. This West Palm Beach establishment’s menu clearly states that kratom is offered as a smoothie or a shake with a variety of exotic fruits added to the mix. Their kratom shake is available in a number of different tea flavors.
Places like Lizard Juice Vape in Lakeland even feature kratom bar stations where customers can pick out the kratom strain of their choice before blending occurs.
Kava and kratom are both legal in most of the states we’ve mentioned here. Kava is unregulated in the state of Florida, so you’ll never have to worry about someone busting you for enjoying kava root juice.
On the other hand, consumers should be careful about where and when they imbibe kratom drinks. Even though kratom remains legal in Florida State, Sarasota County has outlawed the sale and/or possession of kratom products.
No matter where you live you are likely to find a kava bar sooner or later. As more and more people turn to these incredible compounds for their unparalleled results, it’s only a matter of time before they become as ubiquitous as Starbucks…minus the astronomical prices per drink.
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