Sober Bars: Not As Much of an Oxymoron As You May Think
Sober Bars: Not As Much of an Oxymoron As You May Think
May 9, 2022

By Soberinfo

A night out is almost synonymous with drinking. Whether it’s dinner with a date, watching the game with some buddies, or heading out to go dancing, drinking is usually a part of the experience. Alcohol is so embedded in society that it’s assumed most everyone drinks to enjoy an occasion.

As the “sober curious” and recovery movements make their way into the mainstream, that’s becoming less and less the case. More people are foregoing a drink and opt for a booze-free alternative instead. Increasing numbers of venues are building out “mocktail” menus to offer an option for those choosing to spend the night sober.

An even greater surprise is the expansion of bars that are entirely devoid of alcohol. These booze-free bars or “sober bars” are popping up throughout the United States to serve the portion of the population choosing to stay sober. Sober bars have taken off and are here to stay.

The Emergence of Sober Bars

Going to the bar is a common way for people to socialize. From colleagues heading out after work, to friends wanting to let off some steam, to people looking to meet other people, heading to a bar offers a wide range of individuals to interact with.

However, getting sober tends to mean that going to the bar isn’t the best of ideas. There isn’t much to do at a bar other than drink and chat, and you can chat in plenty of places that don’t include drinking. Still, the social scene provided by a bar is difficult to replicate at a different venue such as a coffee shop or restaurant.

Recovery used to be a thing done quietly amongst people in treatment programs or recovery support groups. Then the spread of the internet brought people online where they could share their experiences in articles and blog posts. Social media doubled down on this and made it easier for sober people to find other sober people.

Increasing numbers of young people have discovered the benefits of living sober. But getting sober in your 20s removes a significant portion of your options for socializing. 

Thus, the sober bar.

Sober Bars in the U.S.

The need for sober spaces to accommodate the growing number of people living sober is apparent. Dozens of alcohol-free bars have opened across the United States. These sober bars fill the void and meet the needs of young people looking to socialize without the pressure to drink.

Sans Bar was one of the first of its kind. Located in Austin, Texas, Sans Bar was founded by Chris Marshall in 2017. His experience as a substance abuse counselor inspired him to create spaces for sober people young and old. Instead of sticking to age-old options like club soda and cranberry juice, Marshall lines his menu with creative craft cocktails, sans the alcohol. While the weekly pop-up bar is still based in Austin, it also takes its menu on the road so others can experience the excitement of the alcohol-free bar.

Sans Bar is far from being the only alcohol-free option in the country today. AWAKE is a sober bar in Denver, Colorado dedicated to the same mission as Marshall’s. Getaway was another option operating in Brooklyn, New York. There are dozens of other options for those seeking sober socialization not only in the United States but around the world. The sober lifestyle is here to stay, supported by entertaining options like sober bars.

Examples of Booze-Free Beverages and Mocktails

Just how can a sober bar survive? If locations only served diet soda and sparkling water the appeal would wear off pretty quickly. Instead, a movement focused on zero-proof cocktails has taken off and bolstered the emergence of the sober bar. These drinks prove that staying sober doesn’t have to be boring; it can actually be delicious.

Optimist Drinks

Optimist Drinks are alcohol-free spirits distilled in the heart of Downtown LA. Determined to ensure that booze-free doesn’t mean boring, the founders developed 3 delicious flavors to use in place of hard liquor while mixing craft cocktails.

Surely Wines

Surely Wines is a non-alcoholic wine created by Ryan Hanson. It’s made from the same high-quality California grapes as many other blends, delivering the same taste of sophistication without the risk of alcohol.

Sober Doesn’t Mean Boring

Sober bars are only one of the many options for entertainment in recovery. Many people fear that sobriety means never having fun again, but sober bars are a clear example that it’s not the case. If alcohol is creating problems in your life, rest assured that fun in sobriety is more than possible; it’s essentially guaranteed.

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