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The Rise of Sober Bars

sober curiousThe Rise of Sober Bars

“Hey, it’s been awhile,”

“Yeah, let’s get a drink sometime.”

If you’re sober, this conversation is common – and it’s a minefield. Because you really would like to catch up with important people in your life, but it seems like all social time must include alcohol, or take place in somewhere that serves alcohol, building an atmosphere of temptation.

Not only is the social/alcohol connection common, it’s normalized, working its way into our very language. “Let’s get a drink after work,” or, “I sure could use a drink after the day I just had,” are just the kinds of things we say without thinking through the ramification to ourselves, and to the people around us.

But there’s a new kind of place that let’s sober people enjoy a night out with friends in a safe environment: the sober bar. Along with substance-free zones at concert venues, the trend is catching on, not only with sober individuals, but with the “sober-curious” as well.

As anyone in recovery will tell you, finding a place open at night where you can socialize is a challenge. Many sober people have long resigned themselves to gathering over cups of watery coffee at their local diner. Sober bars are generally designed for sober crowds — meaning they are hip, inviting and designed for all of the same socializing you’d do in a bar. There will be a bar to sit at, games and music but the menu will be entirely alcohol-free.

The idea has taken off in places like New York and LA and as the sober curious movement grows in popularity, expect to see a sober bar come to your town soon.

A word of caution: if you’re new in recovery or worried the smell of alcohol or the setting of a bar will be a trigger — proceed with caution. A sober bar will likely cater to a sober crowd, meaning a welcoming space with lots of 100% nonalcoholic drinks to choose from. But drinking a mocktail out of a high ball glass may awaken old memories. So bring a sober friend or do a gut check about if any bar, even a sober bar, is right for you.

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