Here was Gabriel Coggins’ dilemma – he wanted to hang out with his friends at night, but the 21-year-old didn’t drink.
“There are places like Denny’s and IHOP, but as far as a social setting you get with a bar but not having alcohol present, there was nothing like that,” says Coggins, now 23.
That’s precisely why Coggins’ new café and bar, The Kava Konnection, is so unique. Well, that and the fact that it is the only place in the Upstate, nay, the state, that serves Kava. The herbaceous drink is made from the kava root and is known for its healthful properties. And while it is non-alcoholic, kava has a relaxing effect similar to alcohol, Coggins says, but none of the nasty side effects.
Coggins, and his mother and business partner, Debbie Coggins, opened The Kava Konnection in October and they aim to revolutionize Greenville’s nightlife scene. The bar and lounge is open until about 2 a.m. most nights.
“We felt Greenville needed a nonalcoholic nightlife alternative,” Coggins says.
The café also serves up French press coffee and a few baked items like muffins and kava brownies and kombucha, the popular fermented effervescent tea, on draft.
Coggins hopes to add more food items in the near future.
Kava is a traditional ceremonial drink prepared from the roots of the kava plant. The plant is native to the Pacific Islands, and the drink prepared from the roots is said to have sedative properties. Kava in supplement form is also sold as a form of anti-anxiety remedy.