September 24, 2014

Ithaca Welcomes Kava Bar

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Ithacans searching for a “health conscious, self-aware and positive nightlife experience” might find their fix at the newly-opened Sacred Root Kava Lounge and Tea Bar, according to owners and husband and wife Paul and Judi Galoczy.

Sacred Root — which is located at 139 West State Street below the Cornell Daily Sun offices —  was welcomed downtown in a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 19.

According to Paul Galoczy, kava — the bar’s main offering — is a cold drink made from the root of the kava plant, which is found in the South Pacific Islands. Although native islanders have enjoyed the beverage for thousands of years, it remains “relatively unknown” outside of that region, he said.

Over the almost 10 years that the couple has been in Ithaca, the Galoczys said they noticed that there were not any late-night alternatives to the bars.

“It occurred to me living here several years … there was nowhere to go to just engage with other people, and connect, and be sociable without it being the drinking kind of scene,” Paul Galoczy said. “If you don’t want to be drinking, it can be uncomfortable to be in that situation.”

Inspired by his wife’s passion for tea and their family’s connection to the island beverage — Judi has siblings who operate kava bars in California and Florida — Galoczy researched the beverage, finding that kava is consumed more for the experience and the effect than the taste.

“It’s a natural relaxant, so it relieves stress and anxiety by relaxing your body, but it does that without impairing you mentally or clouding your judgment,” he said.

Customers sit in the newly-opened Sacred Root Kava Lounge and Tea Bar, a late-night establishment located beneath the Cornell Daily Sun offices at 139 West State St. (Connor Archard / Sun Sports Photography Editor)