What Is Kava?
Kava comes from the plant piper methysticum and the root of the plant is ground up and kneaded in water, at which point the kavalactones are extracted, and the drink is served. Kava comes from the Pacific Islands, most notably Fiji and Vanuatu. We source our kava directly from Fiji so that you can enjoy it the same way the Pacific Island tribes have for hundreds of years. Kava has been drank socially, medicinally and religiously and has centered around these cultures for a long time. Traditionally drank in large groups and at community gatherings and ceremonies, people will shout “bula” before taking a sip, which is the equivalent of raising a glass and saying cheers in American culture. Many people enjoy kava for its many beneficial properties. Kava is known for having a relaxing and soothing effect that may cause one to release inhibitions, reduce fatigue, sharpen the mind, socialize more, and some people have claimed it helps alleviate anxiety and depression, but these claims have not been substantiated by an authoritative body.
What is an ELixer?
Our Elixirs come from a tropical leaf related to the coffee family that is indigenous to Southeast Asia, primarily Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. These elixirs have been used as a traditional medicine and many tribes in its native countries would chew on the leaves of the plant while working for its stimulant-like effects. There have been no clinical studies on the effects of the leaf, or the active alkaloid mitragynine, but people who consume it have reported varied effects depending on the strain consumed. At the Nectar Lab we offer four strains: red, green, yellow and white. When drinking the white strain, people have reported feeling an increase in energy and focus and said it may be good for treating insomnia, depression, and improving productivity. When drinking the red strain people have reported pain-killing and relaxation-like effects. When drinking the green strain people have reported increased moods, euphoria, and mild stimulation. Despite which strain is consumed, effects usually set in about 15 minutes after consumption and tend to last 3 to 5 hours. Oh, and did we mention that many customers have reported that our teas are an aphrodisiac!
What kind of drinks do you offer?
Besides kava and our botanical teas, we offer a wide variety of nutritious and tasty options. From a protein smoothie that would be perfect post workout or a coffee to jumpstart your day, we aim to cover your bases. We offer espresso shots, traditional herbal teas, cold-pressed juices, and smoothies. All of our drinks are designed with one word in mind: nutrition, and most of our offerings are vegan.
What do your drinks taste like?
The plants used in our drinks have an extremely earthy taste and one of the challenges in developing our menu was how to mask the earthiness of the kava and/or teas. We spent years perfecting our recipes and after much trail and error, we have developed a menu that caters to all types of tastes. For anyone who enjoys the taste of kava, we have plain kava drinks served in traditional shells. For those who prefer a little more flavor and little less bitterness, we have a special in-house brewing technique that extracts the ingredients of the kava and botanical teas and mixes with a variety of other natural flavors to bring you some delicious kava mocktails! We are the nation’s first kava bar to serve our take on the Moscow Mule, which is our best-selling Nectar Mule. We also carry lemon and lime juice, mango juice, guava juice, and other types of juices to mix with our base teas if you’d like to expand beyond the confines of our menu. Just let the kava tender know and they can whip it right up!
Are your drinks vegan?
Most of our drinks vegan and we offer vegan snacks as well! We’ve partnered with a vegan bakery, Green Bites, to offer all-natural and organic plant-based vegan bites! On top of that, we offer nutritious bars with only the healthiest and best tasting ingredients. We believe that we have a responsibility to take care of our planet, and we place an emphasis on being ecofriendly! We recycle, offer bamboo straws, and try to promote awareness about our planet by showing nature and wildlife documentaries on our tv.
Do you have to be a certain age to drink kava or botanical teas?
While there is no outright law that inhibits people 18 years and younger from drinking kava and/or botanical teas we feel as if we have a responsibility to protect the industry and promote safe practices, so we do not serve those drinks to patrons under the age of 18. We offer other drinks for those who would still like to come in, whether it be a probiotic rich kombucha, sugar-free coffee and/or herbal tea, or a juice rich with antioxidants and certified organic superfoods. We have drinks for everyone!
When is the best time to drink kava and/or a botanical tea?
There are many advantages to consuming these substances and people have reported using it for many purposes. Athletes and active individuals will drink these refreshing and nourishing beverages before a workout to boost energy and focus. Young professionals will use it while working to promote productivity and many students will come in with a laptop to write papers and finish homework or study for a test. Yogi’s will even come in after a yoga session to calm the mind with one of our holistic and wholesome beverages or even play with one of our many Zen gardens located throughout the bar. No matter who you are, there are many different reasons to indulge in a fresh nutritious kava and/or botanical tea. During the day we are more of a lounge concept where people can come in and get work done instead of going to the office and at night we are more of hangout spot where people can come to socialize, hang with friends, and meet new people. We are one of the only late-night venues in Naples and are open until 1am daily.
Are there other kava bars in the United States?
Yes, kava bars are just starting to popularize in the United States, especially in South Florida. Whole Foods named kava as one of the drinks of the year in 2017 and there has been much interest in the rise of kava’s popularity. Check out this article about the modernization of kava in Western culture which sheds some light on the origins and cultivation process of the root. (New York Times Article). As far as southwest Florida goes, there are kava bars in most cities, but we are the first to hit the Naples / Marco Island market. There are a few other kava bars in neighboring cities like Estero, Fort Myers and Bonita. Purple Lotus in Miami Beach was behind the inspiration for the Nectar Lab concept as that is where the four owners spent many of their college days going to study, hangout, and relax with friends. The Nectar Lab is not far from the Naples Zoo, downtown Naples, Fifth Avenue, and Naples beaches and we are located right off Tamiami Trail. Whether you are a local living in Naples, or on vacation hoping to catch some good weather, we offer a trendy upscale lounge with an outside patio area for you to enjoy, whatever the case may be!
What was the inspiration behind NectarLab?
The four owners met at the University of Miami in college where they would frequent Purple Lotus, one of the nation’s first kava bars. There, they fell in love with the concept and decided to bring a similar one to Naples with their own spin on the “kava bar.” You can see the hints of Miami flare whether it be via the unique and vintage Pablo Escobar painting hanging front and center, or the grass wall with Nectar Lab in bright red lettering. We hope that the Nectar Lab can be a place for millennials and baby boomers alike and anyone in between to enjoy. When designing the place our goal was to create the best possible ambiance we could. We wanted to create a balanced, hip and stylish bar with the ability to change the vibe depending on the time of day. During the day we are more of a functional co-working space type concept in that we want people to come in to do work and enjoy one of our botanical teas.
Do you partner with any other local businesses?
Yes, we believe as part of the kava community we all need to share the love and help each other out as that is a key attribute of kava culture. We love working with local businesses such as Green Bites and local grocers that carry only the most nutrient-rich and fresh products, and we’ve even partnered with local photographers, Sartorial Lens. As far as entertainment goes, we have local artists and musicians perform and offer live music at least once a week.
Do you serve alcohol?
No, we do not serve alcohol. We are an authentic kava bar and hope to promote an alcohol-free, sober lifestyle with our nonalcoholic beverages. While we are not against alcohol, we just believe in the core kava bar concept and mixing alcohol and kava is not recommended. We also would like to be a place where recovering alcoholics can come to chill and be free from the temptations of addiction and nightlife that is riddled with party culture and overindulgence as it is difficult for that community to find a hangout spot.
Should I drink kava if I am pregnant or have any health complications?
No, we do not recommend drinking kava if you are pregnant or have any health conditions. You should consult a doctor before trying kava to make sure it does not inhibit the effectiveness of any other medications.
What risks/side effects are there?
While there is not a lot of research on kava or botanical teas to date, like all things, it is advised to consume in moderation as anything in excess is not good for your health. People have reported minor gastrointestinal issues when consuming too much kava. While it is not possible to overdose on kava or botanical teas, it is not uncommon to vomit after consuming a large quantity of these beverages on an empty stomach.
What are some other resources for learning more about kava?