Step aside Amsterdam, West Hollywood is the new competition in the world of cannabis cafes! Medical marijuana, recreational consumption, a damn restaurant where you can openly smoke weed, good job California! We did it.
As a native of Los Angeles, I don’t realize how lucky we are to have such a plethora of cannabis. You drive down Melrose and see three big brand named dispensaries. Drive down La Cienaga and you’ll be overwhelmed by enormous billboards advertising edibles, dispensaries, and delivery services. Don’t even get us started on Venice and Santa Monica. You might as well have a big pot leaf on the map.
When news broke out that a handful of licenses would allow cannabis consumption, people pondered at which brands would shed a light on this new environment and addition to the cannabis culture of California.
“Everything was made possible by the City of West Hollywood and their vision for creating experiences and destinations that are welcoming for cannabis consumers. We’re grateful for the city and their continued support with developing the cafe. West Hollywood created eight cannabis consumption licenses and is working with the county and state of California on all legal logistics. We applied and were granted a license first out of over 300+ applicants, making Cannabis Cafe the first business in the U.S. granted a fully legal cannabis consumption license.”
Lowell has become a household name at this point. Back in the medical days, I remember working at my first dispensary and selling the cool branded pack of joints in a fancy cigarette box. Since then, they’ve perfected their packaging, marketing, and genetics, which has led them into being one of the biggest brands in cannabis. They’ve got cannabis consumerism down to a tee!
West Hollywood works great for the cafe’s location, a busy, fun, and exhilarating area. When it first opened on October 1st, 2019, it was named Lowell Cafe. In the few months open, through word of mouth and social media, people had started calling it the Cannabis Cafe. It rolls off the tongue easier, therefore officially changing Lowell Cafe to The Original Cannabis Cafe.
“This important social and historical establishment should belong to the cannabis community and industry, not any single cannabis corporation. By no longer being branded with a single company, our Cannabis Cafe will focus on its goal of presenting our diners with as diverse a range as possible of cannabis from small independent growers and entrepreneurs.”
– Executive Chef and Partner, Andrea Drummer
The design of the cafe is modern, unique, and visually appealing to the eye. An outdoor patio serves those who like being outside and catching some sun rays during the day, or a more brisk night on the town. Plants follow you inside, as the architecture portrays a retro look that’s inspired by the 1930’s era which, unfortunately, had a bad influence on cannabis. The environment exudes the prohibition America has gone through with cannabis, and how triumphant we are now. It’s a very expressive and visually stimulating place, photos of celebrity stoners on the wall, street lights indoors, a dandy bar, and endless smoke in the air.
The cafe is open from 10am to 10pm and it’s best to make a reservation ahead of time, this place is popular for obvious reasons! When you’re seated, a waiter welcomes you, followed by a budtender who serves you the cannabis. You’re handed a food menu, a weed menu, and your imagination can run wild, so the possibilities are quite endless. Whether you like to smoke some heavy indica and munch out on a burger, or hit a sativa and pick a healthy salad, they’ve got you covered. Vegan or vegetarian? They’ve got you too.
Lowell Smokes, aka their staple joints, are their most popular product. Since we were in public, we decided to go with a single sativa “Chem Dawg” joint to share. The fun part was the variety of choices. Not only did they serve Lowell but other brands as well like, LA Kush, Maven, 710 Labs, and Caliva for cannabis brands, and Kikoko tea for edibles as just one of many examples. The menu was divided by product per page: vape, pre-rolls, pre-roll packs, flower, edibles, concentrates, and accessories to rent like a gravity bong! Reminds me of the good old days when you would get a free dab at the dispensary with a purchase. Hopefully they’re following in their footsteps by properly cleaning each piece after use…
The environment that is built each visit, is incomparable. Every person that’s in the cafe, sets the vibe. When we were seated, we didn’t have an ashtray, and I noticed our neighbors were smoking an LA Kush Blue Box joint. They kindly gave us their extra ashtray and we spoke shortly as they were just visiting from out of state. The music was versatile and interesting, After we ate our vegan mushroom burger and non-vegan turkey wrap, the people to our left were tearing into a Baked Alaska. If they weren’t from Alaska, they were definitely baked.
Lowell Cafe is for tourists, locals, and anyone looking to enjoy smoking cannabis in public without being judged. Whether it’s a birthday, catching up with a friend, a date, or even just a solo lunch, I highly recommend going at least once to Lowell. Even for those stoners who like to sit home and chill, it’s quite the experience doing it legally in public. Our waiter said it best, “Weed brings people together. People can come here and be themselves.” The stigma against cannabis is leaving, and normalization is already here.
All photos by Ashley Carucci Lombardo