West Hollywood has a reputation.
WeHo, as the locals like to call it, is a high-energy city. Located on the edge of the Thirty Mile Zone--LA’s center of TV and movie production--WeHo rarely slows down. It’s home to icons of the entertainment industry--the Whiskey a Go Go, the Academy Awards, celebrity hangouts like Soho House, the Chateau Marmont and the Rainbow Bar and Grill, and, of course, the Sunset Strip.
In the middle of all the glitz, glamour, traffic and celebrity is an oasis. WeHo is now home to the nation’s first cannabis restaurant: The Original Cannabis Cafe.
Just about everything at the Original Cannabis Cafe--which opened in October at 1201 North La Brea Avenue, just two blocks north of Santa Monica Boulevard--is laid back. A privacy fence covered in greenery sets the eatery apart from the rest of the surrounding world, and the organic atmosphere continues inside. The greening continues inside, where plants surround diners both in the main dining area, as well as in the open patio. The garden-like setting is one designed to put patrons at ease as they enjoy a wide variety of cannabis and fine food.
When you visit the Original Cannabis Cafe, remember to bring an ID. Patrons must be at least 21 years of age, and a valid state-issued driver’s license or identification is required to enter once you’ve dropped off your vehicle with the parking valets. For visitors from outside the United States, passports are also accepted.
Wildly popular since its opening, reservations are recommended for those who wish to visit, though walk-ins are welcome when seating is available. Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance via the cafe’s website--cannabis.cafe--or by calling (323) 975-7676.
Integration of elements is at work everywhere in the restaurant’s styling. Mexican tile is paired with architecture reminiscent of LA’s art deco past, intentionally tying the Original Cannabis Cafe to the days before cannabis prohibition began in the 1930s. Many of the fixtures are restored period items--ornate railings, antique fans and lighting fixtures, refurbished seating dating to early in the 20th century--and the walls are decorated with images depicting famous cannabis users who ran afoul of the establishment when consumption was still outside the bounds of the law.
“We really aim to be a welcoming place for all kinds of people,” says Ami Gan, the cafe’s communications coordinator.
The intent is to create a relaxing situation where diners are at their ease, making them able to open up to the community experience of enjoying cannabis in a public space. The result is an instant comradery rarely seen in an era where the zeitgeist seems to drive us apart.
“You see people interacting that you’ll never see at any other place,” Gan says.
Whether seated inside or out--the restaurant’s open plan makes it difficult to say which is which--the experience is much like that at any other restaurant, with cannabis treated much like fine wines. In place of the sommelier is the flower host, who comes to the table before the wait staff presents the food menu. The flower hosts are experts in cannabis and the ever-changing menu of cannabis flowers, vapes, pre-packaged edibles, concentrates and extracts the Original Cannabis Cafe offers.
The cafe’s current cannabis menu is available at the website, and it features a wide variety of items at various THC and CBD levels.
“We have stuff for people who don’t really smoke or haven’t since college,” Gan says. “And, we have a full line for more experienced users.”
Flower hostess Bri Jernagin says she makes her recommendations by talking to her customers to gauge their needs and guide their cannabis dining experience. Her goal is to ensure those she serves have a smooth experience. Starting slow is recommended to avoid overindulging.
“You don’t have to finish the whole joint, I tell people,” she says.
While Jerniagin’s customers come from every walk of life, she says the cannabis experience seems to somehow create a common denominator among them.
“Once everyone smokes a joint, they’re really relaxed,” she says.
All the accessories needed for consuming cannabis--rolling papers, grinders, pipes, vapes and dab rigs--are provided for patrons, some for a small fee. Customers can also consume their own cannabis, provided they pay the restaurant’s “toke-age” fee. Due to state law, all cannabis sales are cash-only transactions, and must be paid separately from the dining bill.
Like the restaurant’s atmosphere, the Original Cannabis Cafe’s food menu is designed to delight and engage senses heightened by the experience of consuming cannabis. The menu--created by Chef Andrea Drummer--features colorful items with interesting mixtures of flavors, textures and aromas. Featuring a range of foods, including vegan and vegetarian selections, the menu is made with the cannabis consumer in mind, with a heavy emphasis on snacks to share, salads, sandwiches and sweets.
The basic menu is available during the cafe’s regular hours--10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily--and a wider menu is offered during weekend brunches served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ingredients are locally-sourced and sustainably farmed.
While everything about the Original Cannabis Cafe is intended to invoke a bygone era when “tea pads” catered to cannabis users, cannabis consumption is not a requirement for those who wish to visit. Patrons are welcome to come for the dining experience alone. Those who only want to sample the cafe’s range of cannabis products without a meal are welcome at the restaurant’s bar and communal indoor-outdoor window.
America’s original cannabis cafe serving farm fresh food, coffee, juice, and cannabis daily. Sit on our patio, order a meal, have a conversation and experience cannabis together.