Shaken, Not Slurred: The Best Non-Alcoholic Bars For Dry January Drinking

Whether you’re a full-time teetotaler or taking a temporary timeout from tipples during Dry January, socialize sans spirits at these top-shelf non-alcoholic bars giving mocktails a much-needed makeover. Your liver can thank us later.

Credit: Andrew Albright

Umbrella Dry Bar (Raleigh, North Carolina)

No-regrets revelry took up residence as of New Year’s Eve 2023 in this moody downtown lounge with a backlit bar, a whimsical birds-and-blooms mural, cozy conversation corners, and premium potables like the Leo Sour (a twist on amaretto sours using functional fungi) and Matcha-Do About Nothing. Holding the hooch for health reasons? You’ll be happy to hear the brainchild of Whole Foods alum Meg Paradise offers vegan cheese boards, non-dairy pudding, and clarified chai coladas made with coconut milk.

Nostalgia Room (Lawrence, Kansas)

To live up to the name, longtime bartender Emily Johnson filled her Eastside establishment, which has occupied a 100-plus-year-old building since 2023, with thrifted tchotchkes, secondhand furniture, homages to history, and family heirlooms like a floral couch, cow horns, a quilt from the ‘40s, and Grandma Verla-approved playing cards. She even uses vintage cups and glassware to serve fancy coffee (think rosemary salted caramel lattes!), near beers, and creative concoctions, including Church Giggles and the Complex Character. 

Dry Spokes (Omaha, Nebraska)

With help from YouTube, Mi-Ya Mata became an amateur mixologist while serving in Korea with the Air Force. Upon returning home, she and her wife Leah Wright, decided to next level her new hobby. What started as a virgin drink cart at markets and street fairs grew into a brick-and-mortar where the only thing more colorful than the drinks and décor is the 1920s building’s suspected bootlegging past. Wash down bar bites with Cold Fashioneds (made with a local cold brew concentrate) or Smokey Doves while watching poetry slams, bands, or movies.

Credit: Adam Moroz

Sans Bar (Austin, Texas)

We could never forget North America’s first non-alcoholic bar when making a list like this. Ex-counselor Chris Marshall started hosting zero-proof parties behind a hair salon in 2017 but has since graduated to a sophisticated spot near the capitol with globe lights, a handsomely tiled bar, and tall chairs swathed in swanky emerald velvet. Parched patrons partake in classic Southern sips like Sazeracs and margaritas made with house-made grapefruit, pecan, or sweet potato syrups, including one inspired by Dazed and Confused dialogue famously uttered by Matthew McConaughey.  

Credit: Daniel Lozada

Verbena (Cleveland, Ohio)

Pandemic clarity led ex-corporate banker Molly Cheraso to seek a career change by creating a hangover-free hang in a former Hingetown teahouse. The big-windowed space is further brightened with fresh flowers and plants, blond wood, and an almost dayglo statement fixture. Group strolls with walk-tails, book club, and vision board workshops pair well with cider sidecars or a seasonal Israeli Gazoz. 

Hekate Café & Elixir Lounge (New York, New York)

The moniker, which references both the Queen Witch and the Greek Goddess of magic, should be the first clue that Abby Ehmann’s East Village coven for the sober and sober curious will provide a magical night out. Especially if you wander in on a night when the tarot card-reading bartender is conjuring flavorful potions like The Healer or the Alchemistress while predicting futures near the Swarovski-studded Milky Way mural. The intimate space also hosts open mic nights, candle-making classes, and full moon celebrations. 

Dream House Lounge (New Orleans, Louisiana) 

While slumbering in a city synonymous with partying, visions of a sanctuary that promoted spirituality and self-care danced in the head of former educator Dr. David J. Wallace. He dreamt it into reality, building a deluxe den done up in calming colors, modern metallics, feathers, and afro-futurism details. Conscious cocktails like four-mushroom margaritas are on the menu, while sound baths, reiki, yoga, and oxygen therapy populate the calendar.

Credit: Erin Miller

BANDBOX (Orlando, Florida)

Old sports, dolls, and dapper Dans should saunter into this 1920s spirit-free speakeasy, bottle shop, and twice-monthly jazz venue in Ivanhoe Village for High-hats, Sheba’s Stingers, and Blueberry Bombshells. Owner Kevin Zepf called on his theater background to curate a no-gin joint dripping in Art Deco-inspired curios, chandeliers, and heavy curtains. The experience includes popcorn, games, and the use of the photo booth staged as an old-timey movie theater.

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