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By JOHN MITCHELL Pho­tos by MELA KATONIVUALIKU For peo­ple on the go who love the oc­ca­sional (or even reg­u­lar) clap-clap ses­sion, the cap­i­tal now has a great spot to in­dulge. Sukuna Park Kava Lounge & Bar, lo­cated at the for­mer JJ’s On The Park, is a pioneer in in­te­grat­ing the kava bar con­cept into an ex­ist­ing ho­tel set up. Since it was first in­tro­duced some two months ago, its pop­u­lar­ity and ap­peal as an ur­ban nightlife scene has steadily grown. Many of those al­ready fre­quent­ing the place are mak­ing it their weekly “thank God it’s Fri­day” hang­out. Ju­lian de Vos, who helps his par­ents run De Vos On The Park, said that some time ago he was look­ing at in­tro­duc­ing some­thing that would bring peo­ple to­gether. “I also wanted to help tourists who visit here to learn and ap­pre­ci­ate Fi­jian cul­ture, so in­tro­duc­ing the kava bar con­cept was a nat­u­ral pick for me. “Lo­cals have been fre­quent­ing the bar and I think things looks promis­ing. We will def­i­nitely stick with it.” De Vos, who has an in­sa­tiable pas­sion for rugby, has been spend­ing a lot of time on the Coral Coast with the stal­lions from the rugby-mad prov­ince of Nadroga.

When not in Si­ga­toka he joins his par­ents in Suva and can be spot­ted around the Sukuna Park Kava Bar. “The time spent min­gling with lo­cals has made me em­brace vil­lage life, tra­di­tion and cul­ture. The kava bar is a sign that we ap­pre­ci­ate Fiji and its way of life. We want peo­ple to en­joy them­selves and chill out in an en­vi­ron­ment that is truly re­lax­ing, with­out the blare of mu­sic.” The kava bar presents it­self as a per­fect meet­ing place af­ter a hec­tic work sched­ule or the ideal scene to en­joy peace and quiet, re­moved from the in­tru­sive noise of com­muters and zoom­ing cars. The only con­sis­tent sound heard is the gen­tle tune of lo­cal songs that lure peo­ple to the kava bowl, most of them Su­vaites and other lo­cals.“Ev­ery­one seem to like the idea be­cause it’s new and in a clean, spa­cious and peace­ful place. They can sit in­doors or en­joy the kava around the few ta­bles we have in the open air,” de Vos said. For prices rang­ing from $7, swipers can get a size­able tanoa filled with a mix of jun­gle brown, aka grog. The bar has a smart se­lec­tion of “chasers” to suit any­one’s fancy and has a range of bev­er­ages for “wash down” pur­poses. “This is my first time here and I to­tally love the con­cept. It’s new in town and takes drink­ing kava to a whole new level,” said Nabua res­i­dent Tupou Nukutabu “It’s a ho­tel, so the at­mos­phere at the kava bar is very re­lax­ing, which suits me be­cause I work the whole day. If I have to drink grog af­ter work I want an ex­pe­ri­ence that re­laxes me. This place does that,” she said. The Sukuna Park Kava Bar is open for 24 hours. For mu­sic lovers, there is good news. Lo­cal bands and DJs are be­ing tried out be­fore a per­ma­nent en­ter­tain­ment fix­ture is put in place.

Ju­lian de Vos en­joys a few at the Sukuna Park Kava Lounge & Bar

Work­ing peo­ple can now en­joy kava in style

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