You may have noticed the current trend towards more alcohol-free lifestyles, with sober bars emerging as a key part of this movement. Sober bars are becoming more and more popular, and it’s not hard to see why.

Whether you’re on a path toward sobriety,  like the sound of decreasing your alcohol intake, or would just like to try something new, sober bars can sound pretty intriguing.

So what are they, and how exactly do they work?

This article will examine just that, delving into how sober bars originated, how they work, and whether they’re effective!

Specifically, we’ll cover:

  • What a sober bar is
  • The rise of the sober bar movement
  • How sober bars work and what they serve
  • Examples of sober bars
  • Whether sober bars are truly effective or simply a trend.

Let’s get started.

What Is A Sober Bar?

A sober bar is a bar, nightclub, or coffeehouse that serves non-alcoholic beverages as opposed to alcoholic varieties.

Just like their alcoholic counterparts, non-alcoholic beverages are colorful and delicious.

The sober bar therefore provides a space for individuals who do not wish to drink alcohol to socialize as they would in any other bar.

The Rise of the Sober Bar Movement

Despite the current rise in sober bars, they’re not entirely new!

Sober bars have their roots in eighteenth-century London ‘temperance bars’. These were bars set up as a movement against the lavish degree of alcohol consumption at the time.

The recent rise in the sober bar movement can be put down in large part to the increased desire to lead a healthy lifestyle and the improved awareness surrounding the negative impact of alcohol on health.

Many individuals in recovery also just want a safe space where they are able to socialize free of judgment and with decent drink options.

The rising trend in sober bars is also likely not slowing down any time soon. As reported by the IWSR, it is predicted that by 2024 the global sales of non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic drinks will increase to over 31 percent!

How Do Sober Bars Work? What Do They Serve?

So, how exactly do sober bars work? Sober bars aim to be just like any other regular bar, except without the alcohol.

This means that they are a fun place to socialize, meet people, and let loose!

Instead of only offering non-drinkers options such as soda, sober bars instead offer a wide range of interesting and dynamic non-alcoholic cocktails that are just as impressive as the real thing.

It’s also important to note that sober bars aren’t just targeted at those who are abstaining from alcohol for recovery purposes. Sober bars are for anyone who still wants to have a night of fun, just without the hangover!

Examples Of Sober Bars

Let’s take a look at some popular sober bars across the US:

Sans Bar

Sans Bar was the first non-alcoholic bar established in America and is located in Austin, Texas.

The bar was established in 2017, and Sans Bar claims you can get as much enjoyment here as at any other typical alcoholic bar.

Awake | Alcohol-Free Bar + Coffeehouse

Located in Denver, Awake is both a bar, coffeehouse, and bottle shop (non-alcoholic of course!).

Awake is focused on inclusion, embracing diversity, and practicing kindness. They also donate 1 percent of sales and 10 percent of profits to local charities involved in mental health and addiction recovery.

The Sober Social

The Sober Social is located in Atlanta and is a cozy space offering decadent and innovative, alcohol-free cocktails.

This bar has a more intimate and subdued atmosphere, perfect as a place to wind down with close friends.

Sober Bars

Sober Bars is a movement that aims to promote the availability of sober establishments as well as events and communities. They have bars and events across the US!

The Other Side

The Other Side is a coffeehouse located in Crystal Lake. They offer a safe space for recovery and connection that doesn’t include the presence of alcohol.

The Other Side was established through New Directions Addiction Recovery, which aims to bring the community of recovery outside the church.

The Benefits of Sober Bars

Let’s take a look at some of the measurable benefits that sober bars have:

Provides a safe and supportive environment for people in recovery

Sober bars are a great place for individuals in recovery to connect with others who are in the same boat as them.

A large part of their appeal is that they offer a safe space free of judgment from others who may pressure them to drink or make negative comments about their decision

Offer a sense of community and belonging

Sober bars also function to provide individuals in recovery with a space to feel a connection to others and a sense of belonging.

Sobriety can often be isolating in a typical bar surrounded by others who are drinking, but sober bars look to overcome this

Reduce the risk of relapse

By spending your time in sober bars over typical bars, you reduce the risk of relapse if you are in recovery.

This is because you are not in an environment where others around you are drinking and where temptation is always present.

In addition, others in a typical bar who are drinking may even try to pressure you into drinking; this possibility is removed in a sober bar

Provide a variety of activities and events

Sober bars also provide plenty of activities and events, just like any other typical bar. Sober bars often offer live music, and also often have special schedules, meetups, or other events

Can help reduce stigma associated with sobriety

The rise of social bars in society doesn’t just function to offer individuals another option; it also functions to reduce the stigma that is frequently associated with sobriety and not drinking.

The increase in these establishments is therefore helping to make sobriety something normalized and that is free of judgment.

The Bottom Line: Do Sober Bars Work or Are They Just A Trend?

So, are sober bars a phenomenon that we should embrace and should stick around, or are they just a passing trend?

As we have seen, sober bars offer a place where individuals who don’t wish to consume alcohol have great drink options, as well as a place to socialize and have fun!

Sober bars also function as a safe space for individuals in recovery without the risk of relapse, and where they are able to find a sense of community and belonging.

Therefore, it seems as though sober bars are filling a long-standing gap for many people and are likely here to stay.

Sources

  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/sober-bars-booming-across-country-alcohol-free-lifestyle-dry-january-2023-1
  2. https://www.thefreedomcenter.com/the-rise-of-sober-bars/
  3. https://foodmatterslive.com/article/the-history-rise-of-low-no-alcohol-drinks-clubs/
  4. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20190510-can-you-have-any-fun-at-a-bar-with-no-booze
  5. https://apnews.com/article/sober-bars-no-alcohol-bars-fd1204932488adda0909ec19fcfbcd5e

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