America’s first cannabis cafe opened its doors this week in West Hollywood with weed sommeliers serving joints paired with stoner-friendly dishes prepared by a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef.
Lowell Farms Cannabis Cafe, backed by celebrity investors including Miley Cyrus, Mark Ronson, Sarah Silverman and Chris Rock, hosted hundreds of diners on its first night enthusiastically taking huge hits from skull-shaped bongs and vaporizers, filling the room with smoke from their pre-rolled joints and munching on cannabis-infused ‘edibles.’
The cafe was given the green light by West Hollywood local government last month after a four-year campaign to become the first restaurant selling cannabis in the United States.
The Lowell Cafe offers ‘Tableside Flower Service’, where ‘akin to a sommelier, a Flower Host will explain strains, flavors and their effects all while rolling your smoke for you’, and the option to ‘pair a cannabis strain with a dish that complements its particular flavor profile’.
Company founders Sean Black and David Elias beat more than 300 other businesses to secure one of just eight licenses offered by the city allowing brick and mortar firms to sell marijuana in West Hollywood.
‘For us the biggest thing is to be approachable, especially for people who aren’t experienced in cannabis,’ said Kevin Brady, the company’s operations director.
‘We’re employing this idea of a ‘budtender’, like a restaurant would have a wine sommelier, but a little bit less pretentious.
‘When a guest sits at a table, the budtender has a conversation with them, understands their experience with cannabis, and guides them to what they’re looking for.
‘You have the option of buying joints, rolling your own joints, and renting bongs or pipes, all the way up to dab rigs and vapes, all with the idea of education, with someone who can walk you through those experiences.’
Alongside a menu of stoner-friendly food like burgers and mac n cheese, the restaurant has a weed menu ‘like a wine list’, with information on seasonal varieties of marijuana and the local farms where the flowers are grown.
Servers at the cafe said patrons are allowed to bring their own cannabis, for a $20 ‘tokage’ fee – similar to a restaurant’s corkage.
To preserve the restaurant’s ‘bright open and airy concept’, and to avoid pungent smoke billowing into neighbors’ yards, Lowell Farms uses specialized $200,000 industrial extractor fans favored by casinos, cigar lounges and chemical laboratories to suck away the floral fumes its patrons will generate.
No expense has been spared for the decoration either, with the restaurant’s outdoor area featuring two 60-year-old olive trees imported from Italy.
Actress and model Adira Allure, 24, told DailyMailTV she was delighted to find a spot in her neighborhood where she could eat and smoke freely.
‘I’ve smoked weed for a long time. I’ve smoked in many clubs and stuff already, but it was really awesome to order fresh food with it, I’ve never had that experience,’ she said.
‘The vibe was very relaxed – but also very crowded and intense at the same time. I can see people who haven’t smoked before coming here and trying something, getting too high, and it being quite intense.
‘I think immediately more places like this are going to start popping up.’
Adaeze Njaka, 31, who came for opening night with her four friends, said the restaurant felt different to a normal bar.
‘You can tell, there’s no alcohol sold here but people are still having fun, the feel loose and everyone’s smiling,’ she said.
‘Cannabis makes you social, it makes you feel free. It lowers your inhibitions, but not so much as alcohol where you make enemies as opposed to friends. Even in the five minutes we’ve been here we’ve barely been able to eat because we’ve been chatting to people. Everyone is in such a good mood.’
Source: Daily Mail
Images: John Chapple