Amsterdam. Just hearing the name of the Netherlands' famed capital city elicits images of people lounging in a marijuana café, happily toking away the hours. But we live in America, where antiquated marijuana laws treat pot-smokers as if they're violent criminals. For the grass-loving Yank, the only chance of getting a legal dose of doobage is to get hospitalized or contract glaucoma. But there are other ways to lawfully mellow out, such as drinking kava, a plant from the South Pacific popular for its mellowing effects. While you can find kava products in supermarkets -- most commonly as processed capsules or in iced teas -- the Nakamal serves only pure kava juice. Servings range from single shot ($3.75) up to a one-kilogram home kit ($63.60). For those who dig the relaxing atmosphere but would rather stay alert, the Nakamal's menu includes dozens of flavorful teas ($1.25) and juices ($1.75), as well as sodas and cocoa. And for the aspiring poet, the Nakamal hosts an open-mic night every Wednesday. Either way, it's the right environment to peacefully meditate while your body loses coordination. Call it Zen and the Art of Motorskill Malfunction. The Nakamal opens every day at 5 p.m.
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