There were over 62,000 bars and nightclubs in the United States as of 2022, a decline of about 0.6 percent from the previous year.
The number of traditional nightclubs and bars serving alcohol remained mostly steady from 2017 to 2022, however, according to the website IBISWorld.com.
Alcohol can be enjoyable to drink and it can be healthy in the right context, but as the world becomes more connected and (hopefully) more loving in the coming years, a new type of bar may be needed for people who prefer to stay in total control of their faculties without the controversial drinks entering the picture.
It’s just part of the reason why a new concept called a ‘Sober Bar’ is catching on in Colorado, and has drawn headlines across the country for its unique twist on America’s foremost social institution.
Colorado Bar is “All About Making Sobriety Fun and Normal”
According to an article from the website Denverite.com, the bar is all about making sobriety feel fun again, and normal for that matter.
To accomplish this tall task, the bar decided to create a similar ambiance to a traditional bar, with row after row of zero-proof spirits and wines lining the back wall of the main bar area.
Owners Christy and Billy Wynne, seen below, decided to go a similar yet different route than a traditional bar, as you can see in the photos below.
“There’s an underlying assumption that something’s wrong or that it’s this sad thing when someone quits drinking,” Billy said to Denverite.com.
“Our deep conditioning in our society is that we need to have alcohol to somehow up level experiences,” Christy added.
“There’s a huge spectrum of people who are reevaluating their relationship with alcohol. I think it’s just important to have spaces like this to start the conversation and normalize the choice to not drink alcohol.
“So that it’s not such a weird thing in our society, where obviously you must have a problem if you quit drinking. It shouldn’t be like this.”
In 2019, the Wynnes decided to change their relationship to alcohol after several years of being in close contact with it, and participating often.
Christy said she didn’t feel well, and the couple decided to make changes to their liquid consumption routine.
They also noticed a growing number of non-alcoholic drink selections.
Christy said that many people order alcoholic beverages because they don’t feel as though they have any other choice.
“I feel like for a lot of people, the reason they choose to drink is because nothing else is offered to them,” Christy said.
“It’s either you have this glass of wine or you can have a soda or a water. It’s like, well, I don’t want to be at the kids table, drinking a Shirley Temple. I want the wine. I think if other things were offered and accessible, I believe people would be more open to choosing the alcohol-free option.”
First ‘Sober Bar’ Changes the Game in Denver
The bar, known as ‘Awake,’ became the first and only Denver sober bar when it opened in May 2021.
The menu includes ‘mocktails’ like honeybee sage shown below, crafted with healthy ingredients and bursting with flavor.
Popular drink options on rotation for the winter include gingerbread house nog with vegan eggnog, nutmeg, ginger snaps and a choice of Rum-ish or Lyre’s American Malt, two zero-proof spirits.
The most popular drink is the smoked sage honey bee according to Christy Wynne. Bartenders smoke sage in a glass before adding a mix of zero-proof tequila and lemon juice.
Christy is also an integrative physician’s assistant and certified sobriety coach.
She says that becoming mindful of your overall health and supporting it with better choices can help a person feel better without needing alcohol.
Patience is a virtue when trying to weening yourself off of too much (or any) alcohol, she added.
“If it doesn’t go as planned, don’t beat yourself up for it,” Christy Wynne said.
According to her husband Billy Wynne, drinking less, or not at all, are choices that should be supported and perhaps even celebrated.
“My little bit of advice is be proud. You’re making a choice that is healthy and empowering,” he said.
“Maybe you have a rum alternative or a microbrewed IPA from Denver that you can whip out at a party and it’s something new and different that you can talk about if people are interested.”
Is this something you would like to see in your neck of the woods anytime soon?