Picture this: a lively upscale bar where you can hang out with your friends, listen to live music and sip expertly crafted cocktails – without alcohol. That is a zero-proof bar.
Zero-proof bars look every bit like a traditional bar from barstools to lime wedges and there’s a fun atmosphere, but there’s no booze in the drinks. This trend is growing in popularity from coast to coast and may be coming to a neighborhood near you soon.
There are so many reasons why zero-proof drinking is gaining traction. There are people who are in recovery and living sober, the health-conscious who have cut out alcohol for medical reasons or just to boost their health and religion-based non-drinkers. Dry January is becoming more and more widespread with each New Year and for some, it’s a choice all year long.
For those who want to make a special non-alcoholic mixed drink at home, there’s now a variety of bottled mixers, alcohol substitutes (some that even taste like the real thing) and elaborate recipes, but the zero-proof bar goes one step beyond and offers a community for non-drinkers and a place to hang out with your friends.
Many non-drinkers have felt self-conscious when meeting their friends at a bar, feeling obvious to other patrons when they order juice, water or soda. A zero-proof bar helps make a night out of non-drinking, changing it from a shameful secret to a celebration. You can bring your drinking friends and amaze them with the quality of drinks (we’re talking way beyond Shirley Temples) or meet new friends who share your lifestyle.
As for the drinks, that’s where zero-proof bars really shine. Because the bartenders can’t just throw together a classic alcohol-based mixed drink, they get creative with the ingredients and menus. This is a serious business with perfect craft cocktails utilizing premium ingredients like hand-made syrups, muddled fruits, herbs, roots and top-shelf zero-proof mixers. The drinks are sometimes as pricey as their non-alcoholic counterparts, but they are made with the same care and quality, with an extra wow factor in presentation.
And for those not ready to commit to a whole night of non-drinking, there are some bars offering a hybrid approach with half alcoholic drinks and half non. You can switch back and forth as needed, stay on one side of the menu or bring a group with different preferences.
Zero-proof bars are a fun alternative over the usual, and something different even if alcohol is still an option. Consider working one into your next night out and maybe it will become your go-to choice, bar none (which is also a great name for a zero-proof bar!) Cheers!
Would you go or have you been to a zero-proof bar?