How Kava Bars Appeal To The Sober Curious

Nights out with friends and cocktails tend to go hand-in-hand. This might be coming to an end as many young adults are beginning to question whether they want to participate in the drinking culture or not. A social lubricant, especially for those with social anxiety, having a cocktail or two can help ease the stress and make one feel more at ease when out with a group (via Healthline). However, the side effects of consuming one too many drinks can be brutal and are not seeming worth it to those who are sober or sober curious.

This summer, TikTok has been awash with videos of people posting becoming sober stories, mocktail recipes, and tips and tricks on how to navigate the social scene while not drinking. One such tip that has garnered steam is kava, and more specifically, visiting kava bars.

Bars that specialize in kava-based non-alcoholic cocktails are not new but they're seeing a resurgence online with the rise of the sober curious trend. Sober bars might be a help for those who are interested in ditching alcohol but are wary to handle social interactions without the aid of an anxiety-reducing drink. Kava is seen as an alternative to alcohol (via Business Insider). It is somewhere between being completely sober and still having a stress reducer.

What's up with kava

Kava is a natural substance that has been used by Pacific Islanders for thousands of years for medicinal and ritual purposes, and is generally taken in a tea tincture (via National Institutes of Health). The New York Post reports that the drink has been touted as a "pain reliever and muscle relaxant, an antidepressant, an insomnia reliever and a mental cognition booster all while bestowing feelings of euphoria and relaxation." 

With calming properties, kava might offer some of the social lubricant offered by alcohol without all the other baggage imbibing can come with.  However, that's not to say that kava doesn't have its own potential side effects. The mind-altering substance not only messes with your head but as the National Institutes of Health notes, kava supplements have been linked with severe liver injury as well as other unwanted side effects.

The sober curious movement has been gaining more mainstream popularity and is making the leap from TikTok to bonafide businesses. Seltzer-like canned drinks fueled with kava instead of alcohol can now be bought and claim that they can alter your mood "psychedelically."

Still, being able to keep up with busy social calendars this summer without the headache that comes with hangovers, sober-curious people believe kava bars and psychedelic cocktails might be the solution.