Berkeley's MeloMelo is the Bay Area's first and only bar serving Piper methysticum. In lieu of alcohol, the mellow, vibe-y bar — wood counters, modular seating, copper accents, and surf flicks projected on the wall — serves this psychoactive Polynesian root. Traditionally blended with water and served in a coconut shell to the call of "bula!," it has an earthy, sharp taste and a numbing sensation. If you drink enough of it, you'll feel pleasantly relaxed and gregarious. MeloMelo's Kava brewer Nico Rivard plays around with the ancient beverage to make it more palatable for Berkeley foodies by blending it with coconut milk and using Kava extract to make fruity "Koncoctions." Try a few drinks with friends who aren't into booze, or on a Sunday night (who wants to start Monday with a hangover?) to learn the true meaning of "shellfaced."
© 2017 East Bay Express