Buzz Off

The sober socializing movement takes off

With a passionate segment of young people focusing on their health and wellness, drinking alcohol is losing its standing as a rite of passage and social pastime. Many are choosing a sober lifestyle, with booze-free activities and venues like Daybreaker dance parties and Redemption mocktail bar on the rise as the sober social scene rapidly expands around the world.


Launched as a social experiment for the “sober curious,” Club SÖDA is a series of meet-ups, talks, workshops, and other events where alcohol is off the menu. The concept was founded by Biet Simkin of Guided By Biet and The Numinous, a “now age” platform for spirituality and wellness. The series aims to help people see that cutting back on or cutting out alcohol altogether doesn’t mean the end of their social or dating lives. In fact, it suggests that doing so can improve personal relationships by eliminating the numbing effect of booze and enabling people to be better in touch with their emotions.


One of the biggest challenges in adopting a sober lifestyle is finding other sober people to hang out with. The Clean Fun Network was founded by two recovered addicts, though it is designed for anyone who simply isn’t interested in drinking or drugs. The network, which operates out of NYC, offers a series of group social events ranging from local activities like going to a baseball game to more elaborate holidays such as touring the rain forests of Costa Rica. It also offers a dating app for sober singles that, much like other niche dating networks, helps ensure that both parties share the same culture or mindset.


For those who still want a good old fashioned—albeit sober—dance party, there’s the Softer Image. Each Softer Image event begins with roots in spirituality, with healers inviting light and love into the room, followed by artists who put their spin on the space to transform it into an otherworldly atmosphere. Then the standard dance party elements come in, with DJs suppling the beats for the crowd to kick up their heels. The natural high of the event is heightened by the “high vibe bar,” where local herbalists and chefs offer creations that leverage superfoods to provide quality nourishment for guests.