10 Mar 2022

The Growth of Sober Bars

Of all the places you have thought of to hang out when in recovery, a bar is probably not one of them - but that’s all changing. There has been a growing trend of sober bars popping up across the world, creating a comfortable, familiar place for recovering alcoholics to socialize. One of the appeals of drinking and drugs was the social dynamic, but it is still possible to have that fun while staying sober - and it will be more fulfilling.

Last year, a dry bar called The Other Side opened in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The bar functions a rec center that hosts events and classes like yoga, but it also sports TVs, pool tables, live bands, and DJs on dance nights. It’s just like a bar, because it is a bar, but the drinks don’t contain alcohol. Going to the movies gets boring, and New Directions, a Chicago-based addiction recovery group, decided to create a fun space for sober people.

In 2011, Duchess Kate Middleton visited an alcohol-free bar called The Brink in Liverpool, and last week The Guardian recognized Brent Clark of Shoreditch, England for establishing Paper & Cup, a sober pub with a community outreach element. The no-alcohol bars are established as safe places to party, others as recovery and community centers, but they all indicate a developing culture that is creating more opportunities for people in recovery.

There may come a time in recovery when the urge to drink will have subsided enough that you can calmly hang out in a regular bar, but this isn’t something that can be pushed, and there are an increasing number of places to go out and have fun, stress free. Sober bars are also a great place to hang out with friends that are not in recovery. Your friends who are not in recovery will still have a great time drinking mocktails, or a soda, and having fun in a new space.