Want an introduction to kava, Polynesia’s favorite mind-altering, take-no-prisoners kava? Look no further than MeloMelo Kava Bar for the beverage derived from the roots of the kava shrub with purported sedative and psychoactive properties. Co-owner Rami Kayali may describe the flavor as licorice, but less charitable characterizations find kava—served in a coconut shell at MeloMelo—tastes more like concrete, sawdust, or potato peelings. Known as ’awa in Hawaii, ava in Samoa, and yaqona in Fiji, kava is defined by the FDA as a nutritional supplement. But people drink it for what it does, not how it looks or tastes. MeloMelo offers a lovely, savvy, rustic-rumpus-room design: hipster-honeycomb wall accents; copper-backed barstools; marshmallowy couches sporting sketch pads, coloring books, and games including Cards Against Humanity. Order a kava prepared in a number of ways—the Purist, the Melo Coco, a kava-chai combo, a kava colada, and the coconut-milk-and-cinnamon-spiked Kava Dreams cocktail. MeloMelo also serves kombucha on tap as well as tea, yerba maté, East Bay-baked Muffin Revolution muffins, Little Ladybug cookies, and kava-infused dark- and milk-chocolate bars. Serves lunch and dinner daily.