KAVA bars are commonplace at many villages throughout the Pacific islands but they are rarely found in Logan.

One man is doing his bit to remedy that situation by opening a kava bar in beautiful downtown Slacks Creek.

Known only as Ned, he is hell-bent on bringing the islands’ after-hours tradition to Logan.

Established on the former site of a bottle shop between a convenience store and a burger joint at 76-86 Queens’s Road, his operation opened for business a few weeks back.

“Kava bars are a long-time part of village life, where people wind down and relax with their mates before heading home,” Ned said.

And that’s precisely what he is doing, finishing up his working day as a cabinet maker around 2.30pm and heading for his business.

For the uninitiated, what is kava?

Some people will tell you it tastes awful, like dishwater, while others say it is initially bitter but acceptable when it numbs the tongue, bringing on a relaxed, happy feeling.

It is made from the roots of the kava shrub which are thoroughly washed then dried before being pounded to a powder which is mixed with water.

Usually ceremonially consumed from small wooden bowls, kava has been used as a celebratory drink for centuries.

Ned’s bar, where the Natewa kava brand is served, is a neat little place with small table-and-chair combinations equipped with bowls, there’s a padded bench seat, $2 pool table and an 85-inch TV plus with a chess set for anyone who feels like trying their chances.

Islanders traditionally crushed, chewed and ground the root and stump of the shrub, then soaked it in cold water to produce a drink for ceremonies and cultural practices.

Those rituals were said to strengthen ties among groups, reaffirm status and help people to communicate with spirits.

According to the Drug and Alcohol Foundation Kava was introduced to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the north of Australia in the 1980s as a substitute for alcohol in order to reduce alcohol-related harm in the community.

Then foundation’s website says kava drink is often used for sedative, hypnotic and muscle-relaxant effects, in much the same way that alcohol is used.

Anyone is served at island bars but Ned limits his customers to people 18 or over.

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