Are alcohol-free ‘dry bars’ the next big thing to hit the nightlife scene?
Why do people turn to a glass of wine after a long day at work? Or spend the weekends getting wasted in clubs? Yes, alcohol can help many people relax after a stressful work week, but there are many other activities that also relieve stress, including exercising or delving into your favourite hobby such as reading, painting or photography among many others.
So why is it, then, that so many people turn to an alcoholic drink to unwind instead of going for a jog? Unfortunately, Americans, English, Australians and many other races accept alcohol as ‘part of their culture’. And thus, alcohol is pushed into our sight everyday by pubs, clubs, bars, social gatherings, advertisements and liquor stores. They want to make us think that we cannot have a good time without drinking alcohol, and – we also tend to believe that alcohol is not as bad for us as other drugs.
Alcohol is in fact one of the most addictive substances, and there are many more alcoholics in this world than many people think. In a survey done by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the UK, it was found that 67% of men and 52% of women reported having had a drink in the last seven days. A large percentage of the population binge drinks on the weekends, and most of the people who do are unaware of the serious consequences. Binge drinking over a long period of time can cause weight gain, fatigue, liver problems, anxiety, low self-esteem and depression, not to mention a higher risk of developing alcohol addiction.
So the question remains – why is it that so many social events take place around alcoholic beverages? What about those who suffer from addiction? Those who are in addiction recovery? Or what about those people that want to hang out, dance and just have fun with their friends but do not feel like drinking? There is a distinct lack of places for recovering addicts, (or people who simply do not want to drink) to socialise without the temptation of alcohol, and without drunk people yelling, spilling their drinks, and even falling over. And that, my friends, is where Sober Bars have come in.
What Are Sober Bars?
Sober bars, or dry bars, are places where people can socialise where there is no alcohol for sale. These bars still offer music, seating areas, dance floors and delicious non-alcoholic drinks. These sober bars have been popping up throughout Europe and America, with several sober bars now open in London, Los Angeles and Chicago among other big cities.
Booze-free bars offer a safe space for recovering addicts and people who wish to socialise and have a good time without getting wasted – and without having to deal with the drama and other antics of drunk people. Many of these sober bars function as a restaurant/bistro during the day and then at night morph into a bar-like venue with live bands or DJs and dancing.
Who’s Going to Sober Bars?
If we are honest about socialising or partying in today’s society, we have to admit that in most cases it is associated with some sort of substance indulgence, such as alcohol and/or drugs. The most attractive thing about drinking or drugs is usually the social context in which they take place. People use drinking as a way to socialise. And while most people can handle a night or two of drinking or even taking drugs and stop at that – those affected by the disease of addiction do not have that same ‘off’ switch when it comes to substances even when they create very negative effects in their lives. A few nights out drinking for these people can easily lead to a slip into dangerous drug and alcohol abuse and/or addiction.
For this reason, sober bars are highly frequented by recovering alcoholics and drug addicts who have been through addiction treatment and are unable to go to parties at traditional bars due to the temptations that they offer. Going to pubs and clubs (flooded with every type of alcohol) to socialise is one of the most frequent ways in which addicts relapse.
However, sober bars are not solely frequented by recovering addicts. A large part of their clientele is made up of young people that have never had addiction problems, and who are merely seeking out somewhere to gather and have a good time without feeling the social pressure to have a drink. The younger generation is far from excluding alcohol altogether, but they are more aware of the serious dangers that consuming alcohol on a regular basis entails. Thus, health conscious youth are opting for parties where alcohol does not have to be the main focus of the evening.
As well, many women frequent sober bars because they feel safer than traditional bars – a place free of alcohol and drunk men who hide behind intoxication to make crude comments and act inappropriately towards women.
Overall, sober bars are for anyone and everyone who can see the health benefits of minimising or giving up the consumption of alcohol.
The Benefits of Giving Up/Limiting Alcohol Intake
There are many health benefits to giving up or limiting your alcohol intake, and below are just a few:
- Weight loss
- Increased energy levels
- Healthier organs
- Healthier skin
- No depressive mindset
- Increased safety and memory when out partying
Are Sober Bars the Beginning of the End of the Drinking Culture?
Sober bars have created something completely unique, and new to society. They have introduced a space where people can go to socialise, consume delicious sodas, mocktails and shakes, get up on the dance floor and have a great time – without getting wasted. Many of the bars are reporting an increase in younger clients who are simply looking for a social setting where they do not need to get drunk to have a good time.
The growing demand for these places means that more and more sober bars are opening up across cities in Europe, USA and Australia. This proves that there is a large part of the world’s demographic that is starting to turn away from the idea of drugs and alcohol as a social necessity.
Will Sober Bars Start a Sober Revolution?
It is getting a bit carried away to assume that the new generation will abolish alcohol and opt only for sober bars, but for the first time ever, not drinking is becoming widely accepted across society – which is really great news for those who are in recovery or at risk of addiction!