Lacuna is more than just a kava bar

Lacuna Kava Bar, located on Third and Roosevelt Streets, is downtown’s first bar serving traditional Polynesian Kava tea.(Rebecca Spiess/DD)
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Arizona has never had a bar of this kind until Lacuna opened up its doors. Unlike most bars, Lacuna doesn’t sell any alcohol; it sells drinks infused with kava. Drinks can be purchased by anyone over the age of 18. Located at First and Garfield Streets in the building housing the Combine apartment complex, the watering hole hopes to serve the community more than just drinks.

What is kava?

Kava, the main ingredient in most of the bar’s drinks, is an herbal remedy that has traditionally been consumed throughout cultures in the Pacific Ocean, including Hawaii, Vanuatu and Polynesia. Consuming kava has a relaxing, euphoric effect that is similar to the buzz people get from drinking alcohol. In addition to their kava-based drinks, Lacuna also sells CBD tea and concoctions infused with kratom, which makes people more alert like with a caffeine-like effect.

The bar serves everything from traditional kava tea to mixed drinks such as a “Kava Colada.” The bartenders often encourage customers to yell out, “Bula bula!” when trying kava.

Meet the owner

Chase Brendle, the owner of Lacuna, says that he wants his bar to be “an urban oasis” where customers “can come and get away from the daily stresses of school, work and life.”

Prior to moving to Phoenix, Brendle owned a CrossFit gym in Florida. There, he would often go to a local kava bar in order to get work done and relax. He eventually decided to sell his gym so he could move to Phoenix and open up his own Kava bar.

Brendle said the Phoenix community has been very welcoming to Lacuna. He was able to gain valuable advice from others who had trouble opening kava bars in Florida, where kava bars have already been established.

Lacuna is not just a kava bar

The building Lacuna is located in used to be an art gallery, and Brendle decided he will honor the space’s history by hosting a rotating art gallery inside. Additionally, he was able to get their certificate of occupancy without changing its status as an art gallery.

“We’re an art gallery that just happens to sell kava,” Brendle said. “We’ve had a lot of artists come in who have proposed to us that they want to put their art on the wall.”

Brittany Mirelez, the manager at Lacuna Kava Bar, wanted to open her own kava bar before she met Brendle. She said Lacuna’s goal is to “get people connected and to get them an alternative to party naturally. It’s a great place for people to come together and get to know each other without having a hangover the next day.”

They also plan to hold a variety of weekly events such as open mic nights and networking events for artists and entrepreneurs. Lacuna is located at 821 N. Third St., Suite 12.

Contact the reporter at [email protected].