Tired of your current drug/booze regimen? It might be time to turn to kava, and now there's a home for it in San Francisco at Kava Lounge, San Francisco's only location at which you can enjoy the 3,000 year old ceremonial drink from the Polynesian Islands.

So, what's kava? The beverage, a milky, herbal root tea, is known to relax the muscles, tingle the mouth, loosen the tongue, and yes, kinda irritate the palate (tastes like bark). Open for some weeks on a word-of-mouth basis, Kava Lounge will now hold its official grand opening on April 16th.

The vision of Alva Caple, a former Toledo, Ohio tavern owner who is growing his reputation as Alva "Kava," the lounge occupies an astoundingly large space on Divisadero 'twixt McAllister and Golden Gate. After several years under construction, Kava Lounge feels like a hybrid between a bar, a cafe, and a dispensary. Inside, a friendly staff led by Caple will explain the beverage, which is legal and non-alcoholic, meaning it can be served to those under 21, and set you up with a coconut shell full of the stuff (and some pineapple to cleanse those tastebuds after).


At the opening, "expect traditional kava ceremonies, tarot card readings, wonderful DJs and live music," says Caple, who hopes it will be a "great introduction to somethign the city has never seen before." Kava can be found nearby in Berkeley, however, at MeloMelo.

So far the product has been a hit, and if I may say so, I enjoyed it a great deal myself. As Caple explains it, "this is a beautiful medicine that we're providing that some say eases peoples nerves and helps their muscles relax." Since Caple sells the stuff, he can't legally make claims about its effects, instead attributing them to others, but hey, it's the national beverage of Fiji, so there's that.

One woman who came in recently was in the midst of a huge company merger, Caple told me, and couldn't sleep. She turned to Kava, and has been pushing it on her coworkers. "This city could use a little kava," he says.

Kava Lounge, 901 Divisadero Street, between Golden Gate Avenue and McAllister Street

Kava Lounge SF via Facebook