Aloha, kava connoisseurs, Kava Guru here! In a wonderful piece of news, what’s shaping up to be an awesome kava bar is set to open in Berkeley! First mentioned on September 9th in online magazine Nosh, a new “alcohol-free” bar will shortly be opening right on University Avenue in Berkeley, California. Featuring a menu that will serve tea, kombucha (fermented fruit tea), and kava kava, the new establishment will reportedly be called the Melo Melo Kava Bar after the famous (and particularly yummy) Vanuatu kava strain of the same name.
The new bar is already projected to be a “wild success”, probably due to its location in the heart of the university district, which caters to a young, thirsty student population in a city known for seeking out healthy alternatives. The finished 1200-square foot space is anticipated to have seating for 27 customers and be open from noon to midnight seven days a week.
Rumored to be co-owned by Andrew Procyk, founder of the Vanuatu Kava Bar in Asheville and the recently opened Noble Kava Bar in Boone (both in North Carolina), Melo Melo Kava Bar is the project of Nicolas Rivard, a seasoned restaurant entrepreneur who got his start in the kava industry managing Procyk’s Vanuatu Kava Bar. According to their promotional material, the Melo Melo Kava Bar not only won’t be serving any alcohol, but it will not serve coffee products of any kind either. Instead, their menu is based around kava drinks, tea, and kombucha. While tea does have some caffeine, it has much less than coffee and contains other polyphenols such as theanine and theophylline that are actually purported to be relaxing. Kombucha is a kind of fermented caffeine-free herbal tea, or tisane, that’s becoming popular for its purported benefits to health, especially for balancing gut flora and acting as a gastrointestinal tonic. According to Melo Melo’s proprietors, “[We want to] provide an alternative to coffee houses and alcohol bars. We aspire to nothing less than changing the way Americans work and how they spend their leisure hours in more productive and healthy ways.”
Wow, I know I’m interested! And the owners at Melo Melo clearly know their stuff about relaxation, as they’re making kava a big part of their offerings as well as their name. In their own words, “Melo Melo revolves around kava, a medicinal herb with experimentally proven capabilities of inducing relaxation and equilibrium”. I couldn’t have said it better myself, and I am truly excited to place yet another flag on our national map of kava bars and be one of the first to give a hearty “Aloha” to the Melo Melo Kava Bar!
“New Alcohol-Free Bar Set for Berkeley (Say What?)” Nosh. September 5th, 2014. http://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/09/05/bites-capones-speakeasy-open-ramen-shop-grows/comment-page-1/.