On October 1st, West Hollywood, California saw the opening of the first licensed cannabis cafe in the United States. A place where people can come to try exquisite meals while, at the same time, puffing away at a joint or devouring some cannabis-infused edibles.
We had the chance to stop into the cafe and take a look around for ourselves. And, to put it simply, we were not disappointed!
We invite you to follow us along on the experience and give you all the details of what you’ll need to know if you plan to visit.
The moment we pulled up to the valet and stepped out of the car, we were hit with an aroma of cannabis smoke. It was a beautiful Tuesday night and the Los Angeles air was fresh and crisp.
We walked down a small patio/entrance area where a hostess greeted us with a welcoming smile. Since we didn’t have a reservation, she informed us we would have to see if there were any seats at the bar available. Luckily, the place wasn’t crowded yet and we were able to grab a spot.
However, we highly suggest you make a reservation prior to your visit. Because even on a Tuesday night, the place was soon packed to the brim with stoned guests.
The atmosphere of the cafe is extremely calming. Everything from the wooden countertops to the large assortment of plants hanging on the walls and ceilings left you with a bohemian, natural vibe. Not to mention the satisfying smell of cannabis smoke puffing all around us.
Luckily, the smoke from other tokers wasn’t overwhelming. Lowell Cafe has a robust air-filtration system as it’s required by law. This sucks out all the air in the consumption areas, filters it through a charcoal scrubbing system, and then releases it into the city streets. Similar systems are used in casinos where tobacco smoke is allowed.
Still, if you aren’t a fan of sitting in a room filled with other people puffing, there is an outdoor patio option. We didn’t get a chance to chill out on this patio, but a brief look at the Spanish tile and numerous hanging plants all centered by a tree definitely made us want to come back and give it a shot.
Cannabis and a Treat
Within minutes, a woman known as the “flower host” approached us with a cannabis menu. Lowell Cafe is also a dispensary where you can purchase everything from vaporizer pens, concentrated cannabis (dabs), and – of course, pre-rolled joints. You can also bring your own cannabis, but you have to pay a $20.00 USD “toke-age” fee.
This was a bit upsetting as the prices on the cannabis menu were very inflated compared to some of the dispensaries just a few blocks away. We ended up purchasing a pack of 6 joints (which weighed out to 3.5 grams) for $60. That’s a hefty price to pay for just an eighth of weed.
Keep in mind, you’re not supposed to leave Lowell with cannabis you bought on-site. The rule took us by surprise, but luckily we had a chill “flower host” who told us everyone does it anyway. We just had to make sure she didn’t see it happen.
We were then greeted by a waitress who handed us the food menu. Head chef Andrea Drummer, a professional who’s been infusing cannabis with meals for more than seven years, designed the menu to compliment cannabis.
None of the items on the food menu had cannabis in them. They were crafted purely for the sake of going along with your cannabis smoke session.
And we must admit, these dishes were crafted to perfection. Everything from the pulled pork to the crispy chicken sandwich to the vegan nachos had an organic kick to it. But our personal favorite was the jalapeño mac-n-cheese bites sided with siracha sauce. In fact, these were so good, we had to order another.
Admittedly, the price of the food was also high – similar to other high-end restaurants you’ll find in the Los Angeles area. But we can safely say you’ll taste where the money is going.
Also, on a side note, Lowell Cafe is forbidden to sell alcohol on the premises. So, the only drinks available on the menu were juices, teas, and coffees.
Overall, we spend around $100.00 total for the trip – not to mention the $10.00 valet fee. Most people who go in groups of four claim to spend around $150.00. You can always check both the cannabis and food menu online if you’d like to plan out the finances for your trip in advance.
However, for casual smokers who are looking for a place to stop into weekly and chill out, Lowell Cafe may be a bit too expensive.
However, we can’t blame Lowell Cafe itself for its price tag. The truth of the matter is cannabis regulations are so strict in California that there is a relentless number of fees and permits the site must abide by. And in order to make up for it all, it makes sense we as the consumer are the ones who will pay for it.
But beyond the pricing, visiting Lowell Cafe was a great experience. To be in American cafe and puff on a joint was truly liberating and something many of us cannabis enthusiasts have been waiting for. To have this liberty in such a naturally scenic atmosphere made us feel very similar to when we first began our smoking careers: deep in the heart of the woods, relieved from the sensation of getting in trouble.
Though we doubt this nostalgic factor was intended, we tip our hats to Lowell Cafe for bringing us back to easier, more carefree times.
If you’re ever in the Los Angeles area, we definitely suggest you visit Lowell Cafe at:
1021 N. La Brea Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90038
We hope to see other cannabis cafes appear across the country that can offer an equally unique experience.
Written and published by Paul James in Weed World Magazine Issue 144