SquareRut Kava Bar
1601 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704
5000 N. Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78751
Anxiety-reducing reducing kava drinks for those who choose not to drink alcohol
I wasn't even aware anything like this existed (and this apparently the only one in Texas). As the name implies, its a bar... but it serves Kava instead of beer.
If you're unfamiliar with Kava, its a root plant from some Pacific islands. It has been deemed "nature's xanax" because of its anxiety relieving properties. It is made into a tea and is a muscle reliever, although its said to dramatically help you sleep, focus, or relieve anxiety. Essentially, the relaxing effects should make it a similar social lubricant to drinking alcohol, but without making you incoherent or likely to blackout. Another difference is that apparently, it has a reverse tolerance, so the more you drink it, you start to feel the effects sooner, rather than later.
I had never tried Kava before this experience, only heard about it from friends, so I had no idea what to expect. I visited the N Lamar location, and upon arrival, I was the only person there other than the worker. He graciously explained a little about it effects and what I should expect and gave me suggestions. Unfortunately, the were out of the most popular kind, waka kava, so I went with the next "best": Koa. As I drank out of the coconut shell provided to me, I took a look at the surrounding environment. The walls were painted a cozy blue, there was a couch, literature about kava and natural plant-based healing, and a shelf of board games towards the back. Mix all that with the effects I was feeling from the kava and this place was so incredibly relaxing! There was also a bit of a tiki bar kinda vibe to it, and some good old reggae was playing on the radio. In the hour I spent there, one other person came and left, and another couple joined me at the bar. The worker did say that the Barton Springs location was much busier. I should also say that Kava chocolate, candy, extract, and to go drinks are available.
I saw two downsides to this place: kava tea tastes like you're drinking dirt. It's definitely not something that you are doing as a favor to your tastebuds. I overheard the couple next to me agreeing that it taste like a mixture of cedar and beets. Interpret that as you will.
The other problem is the prices. The drinks aren't exactly the most affordable, BUT they do have a happy hour, that features the kava drinks for 50% off. This takes place Tuesday from 5pm-8pm at the Barton Springs location, and Wednesday from 5pm-8pm at the Lamar location. That being said, you're not just paying for the drinks alone; you're paying for a state of blissful relaxation. It may seem expensive for a few drinks, but it could also be considered on the the cheapest vacations you could possibly take.
Once you're done here, Outlaw Moon Toys & Games (a board gaming store) and The Sidekick Store (discount comics) are on either side of it.