The first-ever cannabis cafe is now officially open to the public. Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe offers a new option for consuming cannabis out in the world. For many people, thats an intriguing possibility–but you might have some questions about just what a weed cafe is and what the experience will be like. Here is what you need to know for your first visit.
What is a weed cafe?
Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe is the first place in the United States where guests can order food and purchase marijuana products to smoke, vape, or otherwise consume on-premises in a social setting. It’s basically like any other restaurant, but instead of offering a wine list alongside the food menu, you’ll have cannabis offerings (well, in the future you might sometimes get a wine list, but we’ll get back to that in a second).
How does it work?
How your weed cafe adventure unfolds is up to you, but we’ll break down the basics. Step one is booking a reservation on the cafe’s website. They’ll be able to accommodate limited walk-in customers each night, but especially in these initial weeks, Lowell is strongly suggesting reservations. When your time comes, you’ll be escorted to a table either indoors, or on one of two patio areas.
One server will take your food and drink order, which will show up on your food and drink check at the end of the night. Then your “flower host”–Lowell’s term for their expert weed servers–will then drop by to discuss the type of cannabis experience you’re looking for (and, by the way, “none, please” is a perfectly acceptable answer). The host will help you select the perfect products for you, and can even hand-roll your joints for you at table-side. For legal reasons, the bill you ring up on cannabis products will appear on a separate check from your food and has to be paid in a different transaction. If you already purchased cannabis from another retailer and you want to try it out at the cafe, you’ll just have to pay a $20 “tokage” fee, like a corkage for bringing your own bottle of wine.
As for the smoky atmosphere, Lowell boats that a state-of-the-art air filtration system will keep everyone breathing easy. For those who want to avoid smoke completely, one of the outdoor patios is weed-free, and a small indoor non-smoking space is in the works.
What’s on the food menu?
First off, what’s not on the menu is cannabis-infused prepared dishes. If you like your cannabis in an edible form, there will be items available for purchase through your cannabis server, but they won’t be coming out of the cafe’s kitchen. Instead, what will be coming out of the kitchen are Chef Andrea Drummer’s takes on classic “gastro pub” type dishes. The opening menu features salads, a smash burger, and a crispy chicken sandwich, along with several vegan options. As for sweets, the signature treat is a build-your-own milkshake program, with three flavor bases and an assortment of mix-in options.
Can I order alcohol?
No. For the most part, anyway. Right now, no alcohol is allowed anywhere at Lowell Cafe. There will eventually be a short beer and wine list available, pending some permitting details, but those things can only be consumed in spaces where cannabis is not being consumed, which is currently just the street-front patio area.
Why does this exist?
Sure, most people who want to consume cannabis in California will do so at home most of the time–but just like with alcohol or food, sometimes you want to enjoy those things out in the world for all sorts of reasons. There’s the social aspect of course, but also the convenience and comfort of having trained professionals prepare everything for you. It’s also great for those who don’t want to store or consume cannabis at home, like parents of curious kids, for example. And then there’s tourists who want to come to California to try our “legal weed” but need a safe, fun place to do so (most hotels forbid in-room pot smoking, after all). As for how the weed cafe is allowed to operate, it’s the first of a small group of licenses issued by the city of West Hollywood that will allow for on-site consumption.
Who are the people on the team?
The overall director of Lowell’s weed cafe is Kevin Brady. He is a long-time hospitality and nightlife pro. Most recently, Brady oversaw the arrival of TAO Group in Los Angeles, helping open their collection of properties in Hollywood.
Chef Andrea Drummer is the boss in the kitchen, where she’s developed a first-of-its-kind menu designed to pair with and compliment the cannabis experience. The self-proclaimed “canna queen” has worked at the James NoMad Hotel in New York, appeared on Netflix specials, and has crafted ‘infused’ meals for Miguel, Wiz Khalifa, and Chelsea Handler.
Behind the whole project is the Lowell Herb Co., one of the largest cannabis companies in California. The brand touts itself as sustainable and responsible, using organic growing practices and paying farmers living wages. Investors in the brand include everyone from musicians Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson to L.A. nightlife magnates Mark and Jonnie Houston.
Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe, 1201 N. La Brea Ave., West Hollywood. The cafe is now open; reservations can be booked online.