KAVA LOUNGE & BAR
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.