ForceBrands, with its specialized cannabis hiring division HerbForce, was on the ground Tuesday night in Los Angeles to witness the official opening of Lowell Cafe, the first cannabis restaurant in the U.S.
Serving farm-fresh food, coffee, juice, and cannabis daily, the West Hollywood cafe is a product of Lowell Herb Co., an innovative California-based cannabis farm.
As cited on the cafe’s website, “The end of prohibition is here.” The cafe’s opening marks an important milestone in the future of cannabis consumption. ForceBrands’ Director of Client Strategy in cannabis Devin Penhall was on-site for the opening night.
“The very concept of being the first-ever cannabis cafe in the country is incredibly historic,” said Penhall, who booked a table a month in advance and was able to bypass the line outside of nearly 100 people without reservations. “The energy was great, from the lounge-like atmosphere, lush decor, to the friendly service and easy-going customers. You could tell that core cannabis consumers were there to experience this monumental occasion for the first time.”
Upon entry, guests are greeted to walls of warm woods and lush green plants. The airy space opens to an outdoor patio where bongs and bubblers can be brought to the tables by licensed budtenders. A bar that serves alcoholic drinks is around the corner in another section of the cafe.
Lowell Cafe offers separate menus for both food and “tableside flower service” where a “flower host” (the cannabis equivalent of a sommelier) walks diners through the various offerings. Consumers are invited to sample a handful of products from a number of different brands outside of Lowell Farms’ offerings.
“They curate only the best products that are carefully selected by their team,” Penhall said. And true to farm-to-table dining’s seasonal changes, the products will rotate so that other brands will have the opportunity to be featured.
Head chef and Le Cordon Bleu alum Andrea Drummer, who is known for her popular THC- and CBD-infused cuisine from her cooperative Elevation VIP, has carefully constructed a fresh menu that honors Lowell Farms’ locally grown organic cannabis and draws inspiration from her Southern roots.
Playing off the idea of comfort food, milkshakes are on the menu, Penhall pointed out, noting that although the cafe offers a premium cannabis experience, “it’s definitely a stoner’s paradise.”
That said, Lowell Cafe is not without its rules. Similar to any bar, no one under the age of 21 is allowed inside, even if they have a medical marijuana card, and the cafe discourages consumers from driving home under the influence.
“This is just the beginning. They’re setting the pace for what other brands and cafes will do. There are nine licenses in West Hollywood that will come up in the next few years and Lowell Cafe is the first so there are so many great things ahead,” Penhall said.
He noted the atmosphere of excitement extended well beyond the restaurant’s opening; it was something much bigger than that.
“When I was growing up, I would see a High Times magazine and think about going to Amsterdam to experience cannabis,” Penhall said. “Now, flash forward 20-25 years, and it’s here. Amsterdam has come to LA and we have this unique opportunity to be at the epicenter of cannabis culture in the U.S.”
Editor’s Note: As of December 2019, the former Lowell Cafe will be known simply as Cannabis Cafe; it will no longer be publicly linked to Lowell Herb Co.