Have you seen all these kava bars popping up around the country and wondered what they are? They are alcohol-free, family-friendly social spaces that primarily serve kava, a beverage made from the roots of the kava plant (Piper methysticum), native to the South Pacific islands and known for its sedating effects.
Beth and Chris Fisher are an adorable father/daughter duo who share the same friendly smile and twinkly eyes. They moved to Asheville from Southwest Florida in 2021 to open Elevated Kava Lounge West on the second floor of 747 Haywood Road in West Asheville.
Beth had previously worked in a kava bar and loved the beverage and the sense of community around it. After being sober for 12 years, Chris was very familiar with the effects of drinking kava, which decreases anxiety and increases sociability and the sense of well-being, like alcohol, but without its ugly effects.
Elevated Kava Lounge West rapidly became the gathering place of a tribe of plant-medicine lovers and wellness-minded people looking for fun events where alcohol is not involved and where the entire family (including dogs!) is welcome.
Their new downtown location is in a basement across the street from Pack Square. It is a much-needed option for an area full of bars and breweries but with a scarcity of places to have a cozy, soothing, non-alcoholic beverage in a fun hub while connecting with others.
The lounge is open every day from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. There are only a few places to get coffee, tea, and such at that time in Asheville, and my bohemian heart from Buenos Aires, where cafés are open 24/7, misses them so much!
Like the West Asheville lounge, this location promises to be the center of engaging activities. You can expect music and poetry open mic nights, self-care and healing events and experiences, crystal and reiki sessions, craft circles, games, and synth nights. Follow Elevated Kava Lounge Downtown on Instagram to get updates about their happenings.
You’ll love how friendly and down-to-earth everyone is. I got to chat with one of the “kavatenders,” Dunkin, who answered all my questions about kava. We then shared our pets’ names, our Hebrew and Sanskrit learning journeys, the places we had traveled to, and our astrological birth charts. But that conversation is material for another story…
After researching kava, I learned about kava circles, an ancient traditional practice of the Pacific Islands, in which participants bond over drinking kava, conversation, storytelling, and singing.
They share news and discuss important topics (like pet names and astrological birth charts!). I could see how my first experience drinking kava at Elevated Kava Lounge Downtown carried the essence of those kava circles, which don’t feel so distant now.
This is a perfect place to relax before or after a show or a dinner downtown, bring your computer and work, unwind after a long day, treat your kids to a cozy drink or a local kombucha or soda, or go solo to meet new friends. You’ll love the comfy sofas, the vibrant, funky decor, the soft lighting, and the lounging furniture.
What are you drinking when you drink kava? You are drinking the roots of the plant, grounded into a powder, brewed like tea, and strained.
How does kava taste? I must admit that the taste wasn’t the best part of my first kava experience. It’s on the bitter side, with the texture of muddy water, but I loved how it made me feel.
I know that with time, my mouth also will welcome its earthy goodness. Being from Argentina, I have witnessed how many people react to drinking our strong and bitter yerba mate for the first time, to then fall head over heels for it because it makes them feel great.
Kava is part of the pepper family, so you can expect your mouth and throat to get slightly tingly and numb after the first few sips. This is normal, and it won’t last. Also, my kavatender friend anticipated this was going to happen. He told me to sip it slowly, and I didn’t notice discomfort at all.
How does drinking kava make you feel? While it’s not a one-size-fits-all drink, and each person will have a different relationship with it, kava is known for its relaxing qualities that impact the mood positively and enhance the sense of well-being.
I feel pretty happy and engaged most of the time, but kava made me emotionally disengaged from the worries that tend to constantly buzz in the back of my mind, like the mean flying monkeys of “The Wizard of Oz.” Consequently, I felt more connected and in the present.
Some friends have reported other positive effects: lifted mood, mental clarity, happier, more authentic social interactions, and muscular relaxation. Some others swear kava helps them to ease their anxiety, fall asleep quickly, and recover from workouts faster.
In addition to various kava drinks, Elevated Kava Lounge serves kratom beverages –another fantastic plant with both stimulant and sedating effects depending on the dosage – herbal teas (including yerba mate, yay!), and local kombucha. If you are still deciding what to drink, ask your kavatender and they will explain the options.
If you become a kava lover, you can bring some home in a reusable tumbler. Maybe you can use it to make some festive, seasonal mocktails. A quick search on Pinterest and Google gave me tons of great ideas.
This place is an excellent addition to the downtown nightlife scene, especially for those looking to relax and be social in an alcohol-free environment. The atmosphere is very welcoming and holistic – it invites us to be mindful and be part of a community of like-minded people while increasing general wellness around a simple yet powerful cup of kava.
“Elevated Kava Lounge is not just a place; it’s a lifestyle, promoting serenity, community, and elevated living.”
I hope you enjoy visiting the Elevated Kava Lounge Downtown as much as I did!
Have you been to one of Elevated Kava Lounge’s Asheville locations? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
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