After a few short days of soft openings, Long Island’s first kava tea bar is hosting a grand opening party from 2 to 11 p.m today, Wednesday, in Patchogue.
Island Kava is now fully open at 73C North Ocean Avenue.
“Finally!” co-owner Ryan LaFlare wrote on Facebook today. “We are opening officially today. Come see what the buzz is all about!”
For the uninitiated, kava is extracted from a Piper methysticum plant. The tea is widely used as a social drink within South Pacific cultures to calm anxiety, stress and restlessness. And, to treat sleeping problems, according to WebMD.
Island Kava is stocked with unique teas from around the world, as well as kava bottled, coffee, espresso drinks, kombucha and the highly-caffeinated Yerba Mate tea.
LaFlare, a retired UFC fighter who used to sip kava to relax between or after fights, estimates there are around 100 kava bars nationwide, though none others were operating on Long Island until Island Kava.
“We picked Patchogue because of all the positive things we’ve heard about it,” LaFlare, who was raised in Lindenhurst, previously told GreaterPatchogue.
“We’re looking to be an alcohol alternative, all-natural drinks, with different flavors and types,” said LaFlare, who is importing products from New Guinea, Fiji and Hawaii and elsewhere.
After the West Islip resident retired in October 2018 from professional mixed martial arts with a 13-3-0 record, he partnered with longtime friend Eric Ott to build the tea bar in Patchogue.
Island Kava was built out this past year in the 1,200-square-foot space that last hosted SubZero Ice Cream, just north of Catch Oyster Bar.
Photo: Tea-sippers at Island Kava during last week’s soft opening.