Kava bar to open in Longmont; 3 more slated for NoCo

LONGMONT — Four business partners are hoping by autumn to open four gathering places around Northern Colorado that serve nonalcoholic drinks featuring an exotic root they say promotes an elevated mood.

The first Colorado Mountain Kava location is to open by March 15 at 615-617 Ken Pratt Blvd. in Longmont, said Joe Monastra, who owns the budding chain along with his son, Sam Monastra, Mark Kamann and Tobin Osteen. The partners’ goal, he said, is to open their second kava bar at an undisclosed spot in Fort Collins in May, followed by one in Greeley in July and Westminster in September, he said.

Their first kava bar is in a strip mall at the southwest corner of Main Street and Ken Pratt Boulevard, in a space that had housed a check-cashing business and a provider of trophies, Joe Monastra said, “and we blew out the wall to make right at 2,000 square feet.” He expects to hire four employees at first and open no later than March 15.

Sam Monastra had owned a holistic herb store in Marion, Ohio, and opened another in Cincinnati, but “he moved to Longmont specifically to open this,” his father said. They focused on Longmont because “we met A.J. Haney, who is a brewmaster for all these products, and he knew Tobin” Osteen.

A Colorado native, Osteen had been a residential and commercial contractor with Vermilion Construction for more than 20 years. “That’s a pretty rough industry, so I got interested in pain relief,” Osteen said. He happened upon a kava bar in Boulder — The Root Kava Co., 1641 28th St. — and “as I sat there, I witnessed the connections people made and continued, and the comfort that seemed to be prevalent in that community.”

Kava, according to The Root’s website, is “a small cultivated plant in the pepper family, native to the South Pacific, with origins that can be traced back at least 3,000 years and is associated with both social and ceremonial functions.”

Osteen said the opening of a kava bar was most attractive to him as a “sober lifestyle alternative” to bars that sell alcohol, and provides “a social outlet that has been uncommon in American society.

In addition to the kava, which Joe Monastra said tastes a bit like green tea, Colorado Mountain Kava locations would serve hot and cold drinks including kombucha and “many botanical teas with many advantageous health benefits,” he said.

Kava “gives a mild sedation and relaxation, a euphoric feeling, and not inebriating at all,” Osteen said. “This is a substance that has a significant effect on mood. When your mood is elevated, it seems to bring everything else up with it.” He said that’s why a kava bar “allows people to sit down and have a good time and not get drunk.”

From the beginning, Osteen envisioned a place with “nice lighting and comfortable seating that’s open to people of all walks of life.” He said he plans to schedule live music and other types of performance art, “things that are supportive of the flow of the community.”

Joe Monastra said the plan is to open at noon and close at 2 a.m. because the business is not limited by laws governing businesses that serve alcohol.

“It’ll be just like a nightclub, except that you’ll remember the conversation you had the next day,” Osteen said “Several locations around the country are open 24 hours. Police don’t get called to these locations, but we’ll keep our minimum age to 18 so it’s adult focused.”

“We say we’ll close at 2 a.m. but our ‘kavatenders’ could stay until the people leave,” Joe Monastra said. “We’re not dictated by the alcohol.”

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LONGMONT — Four business partners are hoping by autumn to open four gathering places around Northern Colorado that serve nonalcoholic drinks featuring an exotic root they say promotes an elevated mood.

The first Colorado Mountain Kava location is to open by March 15 at 615-617 Ken Pratt Blvd. in Longmont, said Joe Monastra, who owns the budding chain along with his son, Sam Monastra, Mark Kamann and Tobin Osteen. The partners’ goal, he said, is to open their second kava bar at an undisclosed spot in Fort Collins in May, followed by one in Greeley in July and Westminster in September, he said.

Their first kava bar is in a strip mall at the southwest corner of Main Street and Ken Pratt Boulevard, in a space that had housed a check-cashing business and a provider of trophies, Joe Monastra said, “and we blew out the wall to make right at 2,000 square feet.” He expects to hire four employees at first and open no later than March 15.

Sam Monastra had owned a holistic herb store in Marion, Ohio, and opened another in Cincinnati, but “he moved to Longmont specifically to open this,” his father said. They focused on Longmont because “we met A.J. Haney, who is a brewmaster for all these products, and he knew Tobin” Osteen.

A Colorado native, Osteen had been a residential and commercial contractor with Vermilion Construction for more than 20 years. “That’s a pretty rough industry, so I got interested in pain relief,” Osteen said. He happened upon…