America’s first cannabis cafe is set to open its doors, complete with “marijuana sommeliers” on hand to advise on the best pairings for each dish on the menu.
The Lowell Cafe in West Hollywood says the novel experience will involve farm-to-table naturally sourced products composed by Cordon Bleu-trained chef Andrea Drummer.
The cafe will also offer a table-side “flower service”, with a “bud-tender” (a cannabis expert akin to a sommelier) taking customers through the unique cannabis menu and explaining the effects of each option, before rolling their perfect smoke.
The cafe is the first of eight businesses in West Hollywood, which describes itself as a city at the “forefront” of the national discussion on decriminalising, to be awarded cannabis consumption licences – a move that will be closely watched by other states that have decriminalised marijuana. Among the other establishments likely to follow suit are cannabis spas, clinics and lounges.
Although California legalised recreational marijuana in January 2018, consuming cannabis in public is still illegal under the state law and most apartment complexes and public housing units prohibit residents from using the substance.
Kevin Brady, the restaurant’s director, believes California’s growing “sober movement” is behind the enthusiasm for cannabis products. “A lot of people are moving away from alcohol for health reasons and are finding, for example, yoga doesn’t work well with having a glass of chardonnay the night before, whereas with cannabis people are able to find that same sort of social community and not feel awful,” he said.
Customers at the Lowell Cafe do not have to be frequent cannabis users; the cafe says it is a space for everyone from connoisseurs to the “canna-curious” to explore the drug in a safe and welcoming atmosphere.
Mr Brady said that the idea is to focus on the enhanced sense of taste cannabis consumers experience. He said the cafe’s “budtenders” would be able to explain the different characteristics of the cannabis and how, for instance, its citrus notes will be highlighted in certain dishes.
“We’ve created and crafted tasting flights – savoury, sweet and farmer’s market (fresh local produce),” he said. “Those flights take really old, unique flavours that will be enhanced by the cannabis experience.”
The cafe, which will open some time in September, has not yet finalised its menu but Mr. Brady said it would feature a range from salads and sandwiches to more “composed” dishes and hopes the casual style will see patrons returning multiple times a week.
California’s booming illegal cannabis trade is still estimated to be larger than the legal business, undermining California’s attempts to reap major tax revenue from the law change.