The Increasing Popularity of Sober Bars: What Are They Exactly?


One of the hardest parts about getting sober is losing out on the social aspects of drinking. But more and more people are figuring out how to go to the bar without getting drunk.

That's in part thanks to sober bars. When you go to a sober bar, you're getting the same environment minus all the alcohol. You're drinking mocktails instead of cocktails. 

A bar with no alcohol is a great idea for people in recovery, but it's not only limited to them. It works for anyone who wants to cut back on their alcohol intake.

Keep reading to find out what you should know about the world of sober bars. 

The Rise of 'Sober Curious' Culture

There are people tired of waking up with hangovers who still trust themselves to drink occasionally. This group refers to themselves as "sober curious." 

In other words, they'll drink a little bit. But they're intrigued by the possibilities of cutting back significantly on their booze.

Global beer sales are down in recent years. But the same isn't true of non-alcoholic beer sales. In fact, more companies like Heineken and Guinness are introducing "zero-proof" beers. 

That gives someone who wants to open a sober bar a lot more options. Sober bartenders can also devise homemade drinks with non-alcoholic syrups and bitters. Many of those get made right inside the non-alcoholic bar. 

For someone in active recovery from alcoholism, this is all good news. Yes, stopping drinking is going to feel more like a break-up for you. But at least you'll have company and plenty of non-alcoholic drinks to order at a bar. 

Making Connections Without Booze

When you were in college, your social life may have revolved around alcohol. That's a common dynamic in dorm rooms and frat houses. But that doesn't make it healthy.

Some people get hooked on the idea of alcohol as social currency. But a sober bar provides an environment that feels comfortable minus the one thing someone in recovery is trying to avoid.

It's true that alcohol is everywhere. At some point, you will have to figure out how to exist in an environment where other people are drinking. 

But there's no need to subject yourself to that in the first days of recovery. Sober bars are safe places. 

In sober bars, you'll find people in their twenties quitting for the first time. You'll also find older people recommitting themselves to sobriety after a relapse.

In traditional bars, a hierarchy can form based on who can drink the most. In sober bars, your social value is about much more than your alcohol tolerance.

You can still do things like play board games or watch sports in sober bars. But no one will give you a hard time about not drinking.

From the outside, a bar that doesn't serve alcohol might look just like one that does. But you won't see beer logos lit up in neon, and you won't smell booze on someone's breath. 

Finding a Sober Bar

Right now, you're more likely to find a sober bar in or near a major metro area. That's because a place with more people will also have more people trying to reduce their alcohol usage. 

Yet you can still find other people in recovery. AA meetings will help you celebrate your recovery with sober chips. Read our blog on sober chips to learn more about marking sobriety milestones.