Trending: Sober Bars. Because you CAN still hang out.
It takes time to reach the point of addiction, even longer to admit it and take steps to get sober. And in that time, you built a life around it.
Addiction recovery requires so much change in order to rebuild. You pick the proverbial weeds (of which there may be many) and keep the flowers. Because not EVERYTHING associated with your drug of choice was a bad thing—not every drinking friend, not every traditional bar activity. . .not even drinks with creative combos of herbs, sodas, and juices.
And that’s where the sober bar comes in.
Recognizing the need for social opportunities that aren’t meetings, but that are safe spaces for people in recovery, and drinks that are more inventive than a La Croix, but still alcohol-free, some clever and thoughtful entrepreneurs have developed a new kind of watering hole. Make plans to visit one of these locations when you’re ready.
The Sans Bar
One concept, in particular, The Sans Bar, is a pop-up sober bar, founded in Austin, Texas in 2017, and has made stops in Nashville, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Anchorage, and Portland on a national tour, with affiliate pop-ups in three other cities.
mocktails like the Rosemary & Ginger Mule and Elderberry Presse.
live music and karaoke
The Other Side
Located in Crystal Lake, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, The Other Side is a project of an addiction recovery center in Crystal Lake. Founder Chris Reed offers soft drinks and energy drinks, hosts support meetings before outside of business hours, and provides entertainment of all kinds, like
“Bar” games–think pool tables and ping pong, but there’s more.
Karaoke and open mic night
A $10/monthly membership model funds addiction education and helps fund The Other Side.
New York Area
Listen Bar is a monthly pop-up currently crowdfunding for a permanent space, and offers an alcohol-free getaway for people who want to socialize in a place with some atmosphere without feeling the temptation to drink. With it’s “creative type” leanings, Listen Bar houses
An all-musician staff who curate the playlist
Alcohol free cocktails, crafted with the help of a mixologist, nutritionist, an herbalist and dedicated to a “muse”—someone in American culture that is living booze-free.
Try: Actual Sunshine or She’s So Pretty
The Getaway Bar
You can belly up to this Brooklyn sober bar with no fear. Designed as a cozy nightlife space, The Getaway is
open till 11 during the week, midnight on the weekends, and
offers N/A beverages with inventive flavors, hot teas and coffee drinks
Try: Light and Stormy, made with Three Spirit Social Elixir, spicy ginger syrup, lemon, black bitters; Dona Juniper Lime soda; the Matcha Latte
small plates for munching
During your recovery journey, you’ll learn about yourself, about what will and won’t work for your sobriety. If any of these places feel a little TOO familiar, listen to that and steer clear; but if what you crave is the contact, the atmosphere, and just somewhere that still feels grown-up and fun, but without the drawbacks of alcohol, they may be perfect stops on your next adventure.