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CBD, Creativity, & Community at Brooklyn’s Ode To Babel

CBD, Creativity, & Community at Brooklyn’s Ode To Babel

Just off one of the main thoroughfares of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Ode to Babel is more than just a bar or nightlife destination—it’s an adaptive physical and virtual space that evolves to meet the creative energy of those that make up its community. We caught up with its co-owner and local resident, Marva Babel, who built the business alongside her sister, Myriam, as a place to engage with the neighborhood they’re a part of. 

At the bar, we chatted with Marva—herself an advocate for the health benefits of CBD—both about how she built such a unique and welcoming space, and how she envisions the future of CBD in the cocktail world. We also “Toast’d” some of Ode To Babel’s signature drinks with the addition of our flavored Full Spectrum Hemp Oils—check out the recipes to make them for yourself at home.

Meet Marva

Can you tell us a little about your background, and how Ode to Babel came to be? What’s your origin story?

My twin sister Myriam and I are native Brooklynites. We always knew our goal was to start and build a business in our community. When we signed the lease to our space in 2015, initially the idea for Ode to Babel was a retail multi-use concept space, that we also decided to build a small bar/tasting area within. The goal was to offer products, spirits, and hold events for local makers and creatives. We had a retail component of apothecary, art, jewelry, etc. and focused on small batch local distilleries and wineries. However, the retail component wasn’t sustaining the high overhead it took to run the space, and the bar/events became the popular element, therefore my sister and I decided to pivot the focus, and remain in the community servicing our patrons. The bar organically became the vibrant meeting space it is today.

How have you positioned Ode to Babel as a space and platform for creatives, and what do you as owners do to foster that kind of community? 

We are very present owners—physically and emotionally; we actively listen to our patrons’ needs and desires, and we try our best to accommodate by providing a safe space to foster those ideas. It’s an authentic approach for us to consider what message needs to be amplified at any given time—and exactly “how" we can  make that happen. Sometimes it’s small outreach, and other times its larger grass root endeavors. 

What is your own personal relationship with CBD? 

I started using CBD about a year ago when one of our regular patrons began to speak to me in depth about it;  she’s a CBD advocate that works to push legislation forward on the CBD industry, and her focus is to spotlight and get more BIPOC people interested in the business of CBD and its consumption. I use it as regularly as needed, but more particularly during times of high stress. I generally add a few drops in my drinking water, or a cocktail if I’m inclined.

In your mind, are there any specific benefits or advantages to incorporating CBD into cocktails?

I find that having CBD in your cocktail makes the experience a bit more relaxed and enjoyable. 

What role do you see CBD playing in the world of cocktails, “mixology,” and the nightlife industry?

I see it becoming a natural accoutrement to the experience of enjoying a great crafted cocktail. Or simply an alternative for non-drinkers—those that may want a CBD “mocktail” instead. 

Do you have any tips or best practices for incorporating CBD into cocktails?

I would recommend incorporating CBD by infusing it into your syrups, or adding it to a “lighter” cocktail such as a spritzer so you can experience equal balance of the cocktail and the effects of the CBD.