"Sober Bars" Are Taking Off In NYC

NY POST – Sober nightlife is taking off in New York City, from posh mocktail bars to buzz-free pop-up parties. The objective: to deliver a fun night out without alcohol—which Americans are drinking less of these days, according to a 2018 report by beverage-market analyzer IWSR.

Liquor is “a toxin,” not a social lubricant, Ashok “Shoky” Pai, a sober Williamsburg resident, tells The Post. On a recent Saturday night, the 40-something real estate agent settled in at Getaway, Greenpoint’s new mocktail bar. Pai, who used to be a club promoter, polished off two Coconauts (pineapple and coconut milk; $13) and a Ginger Spice (ginger, grapefruit juice, tonic and club soda; also $13). He found the booze-free scene refreshing: “It’s nice to be around sober people who’ve got their wits about them,” he says.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you took all the elements of going out to the bar (waiting in lines, being drunk, spending lots of money, loud noises, dense crowds, social anxiety, being tired, doing coke in the bathroom, wanting to go home, receiving subtle advances from unappealing strangers, receiving non-subtle advances from threatening strangers) and removed only the desirable elements of that experience (being drunk)?

Well, several New York City bar owners are turning that dismal hypothetical into a trendy reality, with the introduction of the new “sober nightlife scene” that’s starting to blow up in each of the gentrified neighborhoods of almost all of the city’s boroughs.

Thirsty, and don’t want a solution as painfully convenient as walking to your fridge and spending up to $0 on a beverage such as water? Then, perhaps, fire up your Uber app and pay $22 to traverse from your apartment in Brooklyn to a tightly-packed, 180 square ft. “mocktail bar” in Brooklyn, where you can pay $13 for quintessential thirst quenchers like juice mixed with cream, or—if you’re exceptionally dehydrated—juice mixed with club soda and a bland flowering plant like ginger!

Not your cup of locally-brewed kombacha? Well, the brand-new mocktail hotspot in Bushwick, woolhatlodge (all lowercase; no spaces), offers a unique menu of non-alcoholic beverages for Big Apple socialites looking to expand their stomach acidity/pretentiousness and condense their monthly budget/likability.


In a recent interview, Gulliver Toth, the 29-year-old, chill-spoken owner of woolhatlodge, said his menu is inspired by the “diverse variety of auras he’s experienced in his life travels,” and his unique mocktails are “the unconventional beverage for the unconventional adult with an unconventional energy.”

For just $15, less than the price of a rental car in Fargo, North Dakota, patrons of woolhatlodge can order the highly popular H2OOOLaLa, a new-aged mixed drink that combines top-shelf water from the hippest brands with citrus fruits and unique ice cubes.

Feeling a little more wild and crazy than usual, mayhaps from the extra sugar content that came with your first two H2OOOLaLas? How about a “Hugs on the Beach,” the highly affordable and platonic, $20 mocktail that might just overwhelm your taste buds with the electric and tropical combination of three different La Croix flavors?

Not your mason jar of Monsieur Moustache? Worried about fitting in spiritually? Well, woolhatdlodge is one of the LEAST religiously-intolerant bars in the country, with a menu that caters exclusively to almost four different religions. So, happy sipping, and even happier spending, because being unbearably sober is taking over New York’s nightlife, and it’s getting hotter by the day.