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Roots Kava Bar introduces Port Jeff to botanical beverages

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GreaterPortJeff coverage is funded in part by Toast Coffeehouse, now with four locations across Suffolk County. Toast of Port Jeff is moving to a new location this spring. Click here to learn more.

The Roots Kava Bar opened Saturday evening, offering space for a laid back non-alcoholic hang in downtown Port Jeff.

The new botanical beverage joint took over the spot that last held BYOG Wine Bar at 250 E. Main St.

Bobby Dunn, who works for Homeland Security, sought his own alternative to alcohol, which he said is prevalent stress reliever in his line of work. His search for a healthier alternative with similar effects lead him to kava-based beverages. It also drew him to Island Kava in Patchogue, where he and his wife, Jessica Dunn, reside.

“I started drinking that and I absolutely fell in love with the stuff,” Bobby Dunn said. “I couldn’t believe more people didn’t know about it.”

He decided to share his new found love with others in Port Jeff, which he believes is ready for the new herb drink fad.

The bar has two main seating areas located in the front and the rear of the storefront. People order their drinks up front and can sit at tables and socialize, while the back has a cozy den appeal great for anyone looking to relax in a small group or enjoy a date night.

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While this “bar” certainly stands apart from the barhopping scene, Dunn said the joint will offer some classic pub appeal.

“Going forward it’s going to be just like a bar,” Dunn said. “We’re going to have live music, we’re going to have trivia night, we’re going to have game night. I want to do this thing where we have puzzle night, where you get a 200-piece puzzle, everyone will get the same one, and the first person to finish it will get a growler to-go of their choice.”

What is kava?

Kava is a plant native to islands in the south Pacific. It is a popularly used in drinks in Florida and has recently spread up the east coast to New York.

People turn to the plant and kava beverages to help them relax and sleep or to relax. It can also affect an individuals mood.

Kava and silimar drinks should not be consumed with alcohol, as they may not interact well and can upset the drinker’s stomach. Dunn recommends anyone barhopping downport should either have their kava first well before they consume alcohol, or simply stick to one or the other.

Roots offers a traditional earthy-flavored kava beverage in four-ounce servings from credit-card activated self-serve machines. Behind the bar, the Dunns concoct flavored kava beverages like cinnamon toast crunch and grapefruit ginger.

The joint also offers kombucha, CBD lemonade and different botanical tea mocktails.

The botanical ingredients in these mocktails produce different affects when taken in varying doses. Dunn said low doses offer an energy boost, while higher doses act similarly to a mild sedative.

“You get that relaxed happy feeling that you would from say a couple glasses of wine,” he said. “But at the same time, you can get in your car and drive and be fine.”

“The effects last about 30 minutes to one hour,” he added. “It’s not a long lasting thing, but it does give you that natural buzz throughout that hour so you feel good.”

Scroll down for photos of the brand new Roots Kava Bar.