Kava Krafters – a newly opened kava bar in downtown St. Petersburg — has baffled and perplexed locals by deciding it will NOT be having a weekly open mic.
For our readers who don’t know about kava: the bitter drink is made from the ground roots of Piper methysticum, a plant native to the South Pacific Islands. It is a “depressant”, relaxing the body, calming the mind, and often “numbing” the lips and tongue. Kava is often “served” in a small bowl referred to as a “shell” that is likely obtained from slaying turtles “and” carving out their shells. Sweet flavoring* is typically used to “offset” its bitter taste. The drink has been cited as a “useful alternative” for recovering opioid addicts.
Kava bars typically serve a variety of kava options as well as coffee, tea, snacks, and kratom – another popular herbal drink which we don’t feel like explaining in this article.
Florida has come to be known as the kava kapital of the US with kava bars popping up around every corner. St. Petersburg has secured its place as one of the state’s biggest hotspots for the lip-numbing dirt soup. As surely as more kava bars will appear, every kava bar eventually begins hosting an open mic night. To the surprise of many, Kava Krafters has assured the public that they will not be following suit — ever.
We caught up with Kava Krafters owner Mike Weed to find reasoning behind his bold decision. “Well first off, our bar patrons would have their backs to the stage. It just feels disrespectful to make performers play to a line of careless backs. Our bar stools don’t even swivel. Plus, people won’t stop bringing their f***ing giant a** dogs in here. I never even said this place is dog friendly!”
Other local kava bars have expressed confusion following Kava Krafters reluctance. Dillon Parker, a regular at Krusty Kava, had this to say about the matter: “Man, the place has like, an unused three-by-three-foot space in the middle of the floor, just throw a rug down and call it a stage, bro! Like it’s that si—“
Dillon was then interrupted by a friend whom he stood up to greet, hugged, and spoke to in such an extremely friendly manner that it made me puke in my mouth a little. They began exchanging and explaining each other’s gemstones, which prompted me to leave before my stereotypes became too reinforced.
A patron at Kava Kombat, a kava bar where people have the option of engaging in hand-to-hand combat for a free kava shell, described the beauty of kava bar open mics. “We try to talk as loudly as possible amongst ourselves, even when a poet is on stage. It really gives us a sense of community.” The patron paused to take a drag of his cigarette. “Also, the MC goes out back to smoke a cigarette between each performer, so no one’s gonna tell us to quiet down.” “And who is the host of the open mic here?” I asked. The patron took another drag of his cigarette. “Me.”
Some locals have even expressed anger upon learning Kava Krafters decision. A woman who introduced herself as “Shining Star Mother” explained her grievances.
“I’ve been coming here every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday since this place opened, and I think I’ll take my business elsewhere if they don’t start an open mic. What is a kava bar without the background noise of a musician being ignored by 80% of the audience? Not a place I’m hangin’ out at. What is a kava bar without stand-up comedians performing to a mostly unsuitable crowd for stand-up comedy? Not my kava bar. What kind of scam of a kava bar are you running if you don’t have ridiculous strobe lights directed at performers while they tell lame jokes about kava patrons? Not a place I’m giving my money to.”
We thanked Shining Star Mother for her sincere and unbelievably on-the-nose rant and moved on.
Our final stop brought us to the popular and questionably named Kool Kava Klan, where we spoke to local comedian Jeremy Cohlignieze. Our interview was accompanied by the muffled sound of a comedian performing in the background, only saying what sounded like a series of slurs and outdated celebrity references. Cohlignieze performs at the kava bar’s weekly open mic every Thursday. “I love it. There’s truly nothing like it. I’ve always said a little chuckle at a kava open mic equals a big laugh at any comedy club. That’s just the way it works at these things”
We then watched Cohlignieze’s performance, in which not a single laugh was uttered, and he was somehow allowed to perform for 45 minutes.
When asked if Kava Krafters would ever consider doing an open mic in the future, Weed had this to say: “Look, every kava bar out here has a weekly open mic. There’s no shortage of places for performers to go out on any given night and be ignored by most of the audience. Most of our local talent isn’t bothered by that, as I’ve seen”, a hopeful Weed explained, whose energy field was vibrating at a very agreeable frequency. “They just appreciate the opportunity to get some stage time. Even if the bar patrons do have their back to you. Even if there isn’t a proper stage. Even if the audience is prone to talking over you. Even if the sound equipment is shotty. Even if the host couldn’t care less cause he doesn’t get paid. It just goes to show that we have resilient talent out here and all they need is a microphone, a rug on the floor, and more stage time than they could get anywhere else. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to do something about all these smelly, big a** f***ing dogs in my bar.”