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New South End business features live music and easy sipping

Stevie Leszyk, founder of Cave City Kava, stands at the behind the counter of Louisville's new kava lounge.
Debra Murray
/
LPM
Stevie Leszyk, founder of Cave Valley Kava, stands at the behind the counter of Louisville's new kava lounge.

Cave Valley Kava is a new business in the South End. The founder is a convert to kava, a plant-derived drink that’s used in some South Pacific cultural ceremonies and is said to have a calming effect. He’s centering coffee, kava and live music in his new endeavor.

On a mostly residential strip of Crums Lane sits a small stone house. You might not even notice if it wasn’t for a tiny light up “open” sign, but inside is Louisville’s newest kava lounge.

Cave Valley Kava is a kava lounge and music venue recently opened, in part, to share new music with the South End.

“I just love this area. [I’m] very settled down here now,” owner and founder Stevie Leszyk said. “There hasn't been a kava lounge here yet, so I couldn't go and work for someone else's kava lounge. I had to just start my own and really happy I did here. It's been great so far.”

He started selling kava a few years ago when he worked at a natural apothecary. Kava is commonly drunk by people who are looking for an alternative to alcohol. It’s purported to elevate mood and produce a feeling of relaxation, though there is not a lot of conclusive data on its health benefits.

“When I quit drinking alcohol almost three years ago now, I started getting into kava a lot more,” Leszyk said.

Leszyk said he wants to share the contentment he’s found in kava, especially in a town that has tied a lot of its identity to Kentucky’s famous alcohol: bourbon. Cave Valley Kava does not sell kava to customers under 18. The federal government doesn’t require supplement manufacturers to demonstrate the health and safety of their products, and some cases of liver damage have been reported after using kava.

Cave Valley Kava, South Louisville newest Kava and coffee joint, has a wide selection of zines and books for customers to browse.
Debra Murray
/
LPM
Cave Valley Kava, South Louisville newest Kava and coffee joint, has a wide selection of zines and books for customers to browse.

The shop has a zine library as well as mixtapes and t-shirts for sale.

“The local zine scene is also one of the best in this region,” Leszyk said. “If not the best, so besides Chicago, but it's great to have a zine library here with almost 100 titles for people to choose from brand new zines from around the West Coast and around here.”

Cave City Kava also hosts open mic nights and film screenings. All of their events are posted on their social media. Leszyk wants to host more story-focused events in the future.

Their upcoming live events feature rave music by Faradayribcage, a summer film screening series and a letter-writing night.

The kava lounge is open Wednesday through Sunday.

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