Booze-free in NYC: Resources for sober and sober curious folks in New York City

Okay, so – I recently quit drinking alcohol and started a series of non-alcoholic social events in New York City called “Third Place Bar”. There’s a whole blog post waiting to be written on that topic, but until then I’ll leave you with an episode of the Sober Sallies podcast where I talk about my own story. In this post, I just want to highlight the insanely fast growing sober community in New York City that’s gone way beyond AA meetings in church basements, and list a bunch of resources for people in NYC that want to discover more alcohol-free social spaces. Here you are.

Non-alcoholic bars in NYC

Hekate in the East Village
  • Hekate: The first completely sober neighborhood bar in NYC. Located in the East Village and it’s definitely got some quirky EV vibes. They occasionally have events on, and their resident Tarot reader Matt is a sweetheart. You’ll probably find me there a couple of times a week.
  • Fat Tiger: The latest addition to the NYC booze-free scene, Fat Tiger is a dry speakeasy bar/lounge just a couple of blocks away from Hekate in the East Village. They just opened in March 2023 and it’s still a work in progress, but the staff are lovely and the craft cocktails and food are promising.
  • Kava Social: A kava bar in Brooklyn. I’ve never actually been, but they have a pretty big community that loves their kava, worth checking out!

Non-alcoholic events in NYC

  • Absence of Proof: Super successful non-alc cocktail pop-ups in NYC, upscale vibe. They’re running an event almost every week (mostly Manhattan).
  • Sober in Central Park: My buddy Rachel just started her own sober event production company, focusing on highly curated events in NYC! Check out her website for upcoming events and sign up for the mailing list to stay in the loop.
  • Third Place Bar: Yup, that’s me! I started running non-alc bar pop-up events with a neighborhood bar vibe in Brooklyn. I’m aiming to have a permanent space at some point, but for now I’ll keep hijacking coffee shops after hours for bar hangs and events like trivia nights and comedy shows 🙂 Check the website for upcoming events, sign up for the mailing list, follow on Instagram, do all the fun stuff and show us some ❤️.

Non-alcoholic bottle shops in NYC

Minus Moonshine in Brooklyn

This is a quick list of the booze-free bottle shops that I know of. I wouldn’t necessarily think of them as “social spaces”, but I recommend following them on social media and subscribing to their newsletters: Most shops usually have tastings on several times a week, and they host the occasional special event!

  • Spirited Away: A lovely non-alc bottle shop in Soho, the staff are super knowledgeable. Big selection of spirits, wines, and cocktails, maybe a little less so on non-alc beer. Super fast same-day delivery in Lower Manhattan!
  • Minus Moonshine: Another independently owned bottle shop in Prospect Heights. The owners Aqxyl and Juan are absolutely wonderful and have been supporting Third Place since day 1! Huge selection in a small space, tons of beer, loose cans (super useful if you want to just taste something instead of buying a 4 or 6 pack!) and lots of open bottles for samples if you’re unsure.
  • Sechey: A beautiful non-alc bottle shop in the West Village. Apparently the NYC location is just a pop-up, but it’s been around since fall 2022!
  • Boisson: A national chain of non-alc bottle shops, they have several locations in NYC and Brooklyn. I personally prefer the independently run shops, but you do you babe!

Sober community groups in NYC

Definitely not something I’m an expert on, so here’s just a short list of communities that I know of or have personally been in touch with that run meetings and events (mostly free!). I’d say these are more focused on people in recovery rather than people that are “just” sober-curious.

  • AA Inter-Group: The NY chapter of AA, tons of meetings pretty much round the clock. The Midnite and 12th Street meetings tend to have a younger demographic (according to a friendly Redditor).
    • Now You Understand and Young and Wise are AA groups specifically for young people that meet on Zoom and in person in lower Manhattan.
    • I also want to point out that there’s plenty of criticism of AA, but I also know people that had a lot of success with it, so I figured I’d list it anyway.
  • The Phoenix: A non-profit that organizes frequent free community events like running, climbing, and social events. I know some of the folks that are involved and they’re wonderful.
  • Big Vision NYC: Similar to the Phoenix, they run free community events for sober folks (most recently paintballing!).

This list was last updated 4/2/2023 and I might be making some edits in the future.