Willy Wonka: And Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he’d ever wished for.
Charlie: What happened?
Willy Wonka: He lived happily ever after.
You remember the sheer amazement you felt while experiencing Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory as a kid? It seemed like it was a place full of joy and *cue singing* pure imagination.
As I walked into Nexus Social Lounge on the highest of holidays, it was the only comparable feeling that came to mind. I felt like a kid walking through the Chocolate Factory, except instead of chocolate waterfalls and Everlasting Gobstoppers, there was a medicated taco truck, arcade-style Tekken, and a musical lineup that would’ve satisfied Veruca Salt.
I showed up to Nexus around 3:30 PM so I could check the place out before it was inevitably packed when the doors officially opened. It was a good thing I did too because apparently people don’t show up fashionably late when there are unlimited free dabs being given away all day. Upon entry, the dab bar wasn’t open yet, but I brought an emergency stash of tree with me and was promptly offered blunts, papers, or glass to burn. After seeing the pristine collection of glass Nexus had to offer, I chose the bong emblazoned with Waka Flocka Flame’s face, and started looking for a good spot to chill out and light up.
Right away, it’s easy to tell Nexus isn’t your run of the mill lounge or bar. There were four distinct areas in the building that all provided unique vibes depending on how you were looking to spend your 420. With something for everyone, it’s no surprise the place filled up as quickly as it did.
The first area I explored was a luxurious lounge reminiscent of nightclub VIP sections. The eventual landing spot for many dabbed-out Nexus patrons was the perfect place to kick back and relax; comfortable couches, mounted big screens in every direction, and beautiful aquariums to mesmerize you once you were deep under (insert favorite strain here)’s spell. While chilling out, maxing, and relaxing all cool, a magician walked up and introduced himself. He told me his name was Danny Magic, and he was a two-time World Champion magician. In my mind, he already hyped himself up way too much and oversold it. I was expecting a magical let down, but Danny blew my mind with a few card and dollar bill tricks. I instantly understood why he’d taken home the hardware multiple times in his respective field. Shouts to Danny Magic for restoring my belief in the craft.
Once the Wellness OG had loosened its grip on yerboi (shout out to Nameless Genetics), I ventured into the arcade. I saw claw machines, shoot ‘em ups, and pinball- oh my. From Time Crisis 3, to Fast & Furious Racing, to South Park pinball, and everywhere in between, this place was getting more lit by the second. They even had a cotton candy maker, and before you ask, I couldn’t tell you if it was medicated or not because the inherent contact high of the arcade was all encompassing. I played a few games solo while I battled back the hazy restraints on my motor functions, then smashed a few unsuspecting victims in pop-a-shot.
Once I had left a trail of bodies in the arcade, it was time to do what I really came here to do- DAB
The dab bar at Nexus was like nothing I’d ever experienced in my life. Think of your neighborhood watering hole, then replace the beer in front of you with top notch glassware and e-nails, and swap that shot of Jame-o out for a fat dab of the golden good good. I sat down and was quickly greeted by a smiling budtender with an alcohol swab ready to clean my rig’s mouthpiece and set me up with a fresh dab. I tried some excellent Grandma’s Cookies shatter, from Bee Hive Concentrates, before catching the Pistons vs. Cavs game on one of the bar’s TVs. One thing that stood out from the whole night was Nexus’ pneumatic rosin press behind the bar. My man Magnus told me for just about a gram of flower, I could yield about a third of a gram of wax. I immediately passed him some of my Wellness OG and watched him go to work. I live streamed it on Periscope, so excuse the video quality but it’s still a sight to see.
Around this time, people started showing up for the main attraction of the night; 420 Dab Fest assembled some of the hottest artists in hip-hop today for an unforgettable night of performances. Attendees would get to watch sets from the likes of Key!, Rich the Kid, Playboi Carti, and Glo Gang head honcho Chief Keef, among many others. There was va much bigger stage setup in Nexus than I expected, with ample room for everyone at the party to come in and enjoy the show once it got started.
Between sets, I took a step outside to grab some fresh air and grub up. All this smoking had generated a hunger inside me worthy of a Snickers commercial, and Nexus planned for that. Kush Tacos came through clutch with the medicated tacos and nachos, so I remember about 30 minutes after eating those and then not much after.
When I came to I was standing in the crowd waiting for the headliners to start, with Atlanta’s favorite fat man Key! up first. At this point, my phone was long dead and my memory slightly taco-fied, so forgive me for not recalling specific set lists. Just know that it was very turnt up, especially when crowd favorite Playboi Carti came out and ran through recent hits like “Broke Boi” and “Fetti.” The main event wouldn’t come until well after 1:30 AM, when Chief Keef took the stage and everyone immediately lost their collective shit. The energy throughout the whole show was electric, contrary to what one may have expected with everyone crushing dabs for hours beforehand. After the show I went outside to find my car had been towed, the city of Los Angeles clearly trying to harsh yerboi’s still-fresh mellow. Little did they know, even if I wasn’t taking my car home with me, I was taking home scattered memories of the greatest 420 I ever did have.
COVER PHOTO COURTESY OF WALTER W. BRADY