When you enter Getaway, a stylish bar on a main street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, you can be at any number of Instagram-friendly cocktail spots in New York. The walls are tastefully decorated in green and blue, the space feels so cozy that you can easily engage in a conversation in the neighborhood, and the menu includes a list of cocktails worth 13 USD (10 GBP) with ingredients like tobacco syrup, cranberry and jalapeno puree with a friendly touch from the owners that laptops are not allowed.
But there is one crucial difference between Getaway and other Brooklyn bars: Getaway is completely non-alcoholic.
A bar without alcohol sounds like an oxymoron, like an aquarium without fish or a bakery that does not serve bread. However, in cities such as New York and London, where bars are often the second living room for low occupancy apartment residents, a non-alcoholic night out can appeal to people who for some reason prefer not to drink.
Sam Thonis, who owns the bar along with Regina Dellea, had the idea for Getaway three years ago when he and his brother, who was not drinking, were looking for a place to go out in the evenings. "There were not many nightspots in New York that were not about alcohol, or that did not try to get you to," says Thonis. "The more I talked to people, some of them sober and some not, the more I felt people wanted that kind of space."
In response, Thonis and Dellea diligently made their bar 0%. Alcohol room, which means that not even non-alcoholic beers that contain a trace of alcohol may be on the menu. In the US, the term "non-alcoholic" can be used for beverages with a maximum alcohol content of 0.5% by volume, which means that many popular non-alcoholic beers are not really alcohol-free.
"It's 0% as much as human as possible. So if you're sober and it's a problem for you or you do not even want the smell of alcohol in your area, you're safe, "says Thonis. But it still looks and feels like a bar ̵
It's 0% as human as possible, so if you're sober and it's a problem for you, or you do not even want the smell of alcohol around you, you're safe.
Launched in April, Getaway is part of a growing global wave of nightclubs designed specifically for people who want to avoid alcohol, but still want to go out in rooms and socialize, traditionally dominated by drinking. In Portland, Maine and The Other Side in Crystal Lake, a suburb of Illinois, there is the Fizz House of Vena. In London, the non-alcoholic bar Redemption now has three locations and a menu with vegan, sugar-free and wheat-free cuisine. In January, the non-alcoholic pub The Virgin Mary opened in Dublin.
Non-alcoholic bars are not a new concept. In the late 19th century, a number of non-alcoholic bars, known as Temperance Bars, were established in the UK after the Temperance movement, which called for abstinence. Fitzpatrick's Temperance Bar, founded in 1890 in Rawtenstall, north of Manchester, still hurls root beer and jars of dandelions and burdock.
What is different about today's wave of alcoholic bars is that they are not necessarily rooted in the idea of utter abstinence. At Getaway, for example, the audience is not just a non-drinker, but anyone who wants to have a fun bar environment the next day without the danger of a hangover. "Nothing in our room says you should be sober, or you should not go around the corner to another bar and make a tequila shot after hanging around here," Thonis said. "It's not just for the non-drinker."
In this way, Getaway touches on a movement in which urban millennials rethink the place of alcohol in their lives. Lorelei Bandrovschi, 32, falls into this category. Last year, she began to organize alcohol-free pop-up events called the Listen Bar for people who wanted to mix without alcohol. She used to work as a consultant for brands like YouTube and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, but now working on the List Bar is her full-time job.
It's really liberating to create space for yourself and your life where a Rowdy Party Vibe does not mean hangover and blurry memories
"Bars are a place of relaxation, and we are convinced that alcohol is a part of it must be, "says Bandrovschi. "It's really liberating to make room for yourself and your life where a loud party feeling does not mean hangover and blurry memories." The word "loud" is an integral part of what Bandrovschi intends at these events. "There were moments in our first Williamsburg pop-ups where people dance on tables and beat their hearts out," she says. "Being good to yourself does not just mean being zen and submissive."
Bandrovschi himself is not sober, but after a month of no alcohol, she discovered that it was about people who wanted to go out with their friends Lacking Opportunities I'm stuck trying to order a drink while everyone else gets thoughtfully prepared mixed drinks. "I think that the bar culture, from the menu to the staff to the guests, tends not to make drinking a hobby for outsiders," she says patrons tend not to make drinking an outsider's hobby  "I call my personal philosophy optional drinking. In order to achieve an optional beverage culture in contrast to the current standard culture, we must celebrate the choice not to drink. It should have as much room as it does for drinking, spaces that are cool and funny and desirable takeaway spaces. I wanted to create something that was missing in the culture, and I really wanted to change the culture.
This "drink optional" setting may not be the default yet, but it does exist that are indicators that young people are not drinking as much as they used to. In 2016, adults over the age of 16 surveyed by the British Office of Nationals Statistics consumed only 56.9% in the previous week, the lowest percentage recorded since the survey began in 2005, International Wine and Spirits Record claimed that 52% of American adults surveyed tried or previously tried to reduce their alcohol intake.
A series of articles on current trends suggest that millennials are reconsidering when and how to drink. In the US, beer sales are declining, and while this may mean that more health-conscious consumers are more likely to turn to higher octane alcohols, the alcohol industry has responded to the slump by introducing options with and without alcohol, as is the case with Heineken 0.0 non-alcoholic beer launched in 2017 or canned Gordon's ultra-low-alcohol gin and tonic.
Non-alcoholic beverages are big business even in rooms that are not alcohol-free. High-end restaurants are increasingly offering non-alcoholic food for their tasting menus as well as traditional wine or cocktail recommendations. And mixologists and beverage directors are using the trends as an opportunity to create interesting drinks without the traditional ballast of spirits.
Chelsea Carrier, o ya's beverage director, Covina and The Roof Top of New York, worked with her team to create a nonalcoholic food pair at Japanese Restaurant o ya. "So many guests asked for NA options and did not just want to drink water," says Carrier. She estimates that NA drinks make up about 20% of the drinks ordered in the restaurant, and that customers who do not drink alcohol feel well thought-out. "You can sit next to someone who drinks a bottle of wine for a few thousand dollars and drink a non-alcoholic cocktail, and that's just as much," she says.
Drink the bar dry ]
At Existing Conditions, a bar in New York's Greenwich Village renowned for their signature cocktails, such as an old-fashioned cocktail with waffle-soaked bourbon and maple syrup, focus on non-alcoholic cocktails and, according to beverage director Bobby Murphy, some of the most expensive products they make, both in terms of ingredients and work.
One drink, the Stingless, requires melipona honey, which is made by tiny bees in Mexico and costs $ 100 for a kilo. Another non-alcoholic beverage is clarified comice pear juice, an ingredient that the team had to buy under existing conditions and juice 980 pounds of seasonal pear. Each drink contains about six pears. "Just serving one soda is not enough," says Murphy. "When we make the soft drinks, we want them to be something you can not get anywhere else." He estimates that 20-30% of all drinks sold under existing conditions are non-alcoholic.
Many of the wave of sober bars are new, and it remains to be seen if they will continue to multiply and thrive. In Auckland, an alcohol-free bar was closed in 2015 after just five weeks. However, there is no doubt that the interest in non-alcoholic beverages for adults in the entire beverage industry is increasing and it is unlikely to stop soon.
Getaway is considered by co-owners Sam Thonis and Regina Dellea as an option in a city full of specific venues that are tailored to specific interests. The business has stabilized over the last month. "Every day I'm worried that nobody will come in, and 20 minutes later, there's a lot going on," says Dellea. Her clients include curious locals, pregnant women and diligent sober, but Dellea and Thonis hope the bar's appeal will be great. "It can be for everyone, but it does not have to," says Thonis. "There are a million options. If people do not like us, that's okay. You are allowed. For the people who want to be here, we are here.
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