The Best Booze-Free Bars To Visit Around The US

In a 2021 Gallup Poll, there was a reported 60% of adults who choose to drink alcohol. While this still puts drinkers in the majority, it's important to point out that in 2019, the number of alcohol drinkers came in at 65%. On a related note, according to Food Navigator Europe, the low/ no-alcohol markets will rise by one-third by 2026, including in the US, with the largest number of drinkers preferring drinks sans booze. For traditional bars, this could spell bad news.

But bar owners who have embraced the zero alcohol trend understand that a bar doesn't have to be so much about booze as it could be about providing people with a so-called "third space," a common ground that's not home and not the office where they can meet up with friends and colleagues for refreshments and chats. In creating this type of space, booze-free bars do remarkably well.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, booze-free bars have started to spring up all over the US. Some are basically coffeeshops, meaning they have reputations for serving great coffee, but they also serve drinks that look more at home on a bar menu. Others call themselves bars outright, including imposing an entry age minimum of 18, which fills these spaces with adults and adult conversations only. In this list, we look at some of these third-space booze-free bars to find out what they serve, what type of bar they consider themselves to be, and what sets them apart from other booze-free establishments.

Hekate Café & Elixir Lounge, New York, New York

Hekate Café & Elixir Lounge infuses the Village in New York City with the energy of the triune goddess, Hekate, and with the elixirs of life – aka magical concoctions of the booze-free persuasion – designed to keep the booze-free, booze-free. This sober bar does more than just serve non-alcoholic drinks and specialty teas. It welcomes those who embrace the more mystical and crafty side of life. It's a gathering place for artsy crafters, artisan foodies, card readers, book readers and writers, sober circles, and possibly even a witchy wonder or two.

Despite, or maybe because of, its booze-free policy, Hekate Café & Elixir Lounge gets a fair bit of business in the Big Apple. It's the city's only sober bar. As such, it may just be as mystical and magical as the Greek goddess, Hekate, after whom the bar is named. Some of Hekate's more interesting-sounding potions Guinness 0 Tall Boy include its Apothekary's Blue Me Away, Clean's Spiced Rum, and Guinness 0 Tall Boy. Hekate Café & Elixir Loungeis open Monday through Sunday, noon to 10:00 p.m.

Inland Kava Bar, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Kava, which some people have said is "a buzz without the alcohol," per Project Fare, is made from the root of a plant in the pepper family. Like all good folk remedies, it's the stuff that medicinal remedies are made of. Once imbibed, kava promotes feelings of euphoria, making it possibly the most perfect substitute for booze. At Inland Kava Bar in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, ingredients like spiced Mexican chocolate or cream of coconut mask its sometimes grassy, bitter taste. Aside from kava drinks, bar guests enjoy drinks like the Krazy Mary and the Krajito.

It's worth noting that kava can make much headway in a place like Coeur d'Alene. The resort town, complete with its statuesque mountains and cool glacier lake, beckons the laid-back travel types who love art galleries, outdoor sports activities, and wine bars in cellars where jazz flows as generously as the wine does. And it's not just the wine bars that draw them to Coeur d'Alene, though. Northern Idaho, where the city is located, is an award-winning wine country that practically makes wine tasting in Coeur d'Alene, a must-do activity for visitors. 

It probably helps that Inland Kava Bar functions like a bar. It's 18 and over only. Apart from the no-alcohol part, bar guests can do the same thing there that they can at other bars. There's even a little live reggae music to give the jazz in the jazz bars a run for the money.

Free Spirits Beverage Company, Boise, Idaho

For those who were against Prohibition in the 1920s and early 1930s here in America, it might have seemed unlikely that whole bars and bottle shops set up around temperance still exist in the 21st century. Yet here we are, and one of the hippest places in the country that's practicing temperance is Free Spirits Beverage Company in Boise, Idaho. This micro-craft brewing company creates drinks it affectionately calls "Free Spirits." It's a name that not only gives a nod to the company's booze-free nature but also hints at the sort of vibe that Free Spirits Beverage Company hopes to create.

Behind each drink or bitters recipe is a desire to engage with "plant energy, magic, and medicine," according to the company's website. It achieves this magic by foraging for ingredients, where possible, and when it's not, looking for locally or regionally sourced goodies if possible. The focus is on healing through the energy that each ingredient brings to the bottle. These free spirits in a bottle have created enough notoriety in Idaho's Treasure Valley that visitors to the Boise-based Idaho Shakespeare Festival can enjoy a bottle of Free Spirits while basking in the Bard under the stars. 

Free Spirits Beverage Company has an extensive shop filled with bottles of the company's benevolent beverages. However, for those who hanker for some human connection, there is a lounge where friends imbibe on booze-free beverages, like its Smokin' Melissa, or its bitters, such as Hips Don't Lie.

The Vibe Virgin Bar, Provo, Utah

Since ancient times, people have shared drinks together as a way to connect and to make new friends from strangers and make old friends more dear. It's this kind of sentiment that permeates Provo, Utah's The Vibe Virgin Bar. It's a speakeasy where speaking among friends is easy without all the boozy challenges that can come with such social interactions. It's just unhindered mixology and magical mixers of the human kind all under the same roof. And with drinks like Peach on the Beach, Lavender Lemonade, and the Color-Changing mocktail masterful mixology stands center stage at The VVB – that is when its own center stage isn't filled with the kind of mirth that comes from trivia nights, crazy karaoke, and live bands.

For Vibe Virgin bar fans who can't make it to the main store in Provo, no worries. Pop-ups play a big role in keeping The VVB connected with those who want to extend their mocktails experience beyond the four walls of this booze-free bar. And speaking of getting out from behind the Vibe Virgin Bar's walls, for those who feel like no good mocktail worth its rim salt would be without something to nosh on, there's the VVB/ Pogo's Pizzaria & Chicken mash-up, a weekly event that brings together both frou-frou drinks and presumably fab food every Thursday night. 

Wildcrafters, Jacksonville, Florida

One of the reasons why bar-goers like Happy Hour is that it gives them an excuse to down a plate of nachos washed down with a few margaritas (or what have you), the goal of which is to calm the nerves and revive after the workday has clobbered them. But for those who regularly spend time at Wildcrafters in Jacksonville – or Jax – Florida, calm nerves come without the boozy hangover. Instead, those nerve o' steel and honey come from one of Wildcrafters' many kava drinks. Kava drinkers enjoy a number of good effects from partaking in Wildcrafters' private kava ceremonies on the patio, with calmness being one of the kava drinkers' chief goals.

But as Jax's first booze-free bar, there's so much more to be had besides a good Kava Cinnamon Toast Crunch cocktail, though we admit that does sound like a cupful of nummies right there. Visitors to Wildcrafters enjoy live jazzy jams as backdrops for Technicolor drinks filled with kava and contemplation. If kava's sometimes bitter taste leaves something to be desired, Wildcrafters offers booze-free cocktails and an assortment of teas. With its comfy sofas and patio bar dreams mixed with Jax's year-round near-perfect weather, going booze-free at Wildcrafters is calm, cozy, and carefree.

Sucker Punch, Portland, Oregon

If foodie travelers visiting Portland, Oregon want to find the best bars to hang out in, they may ​​look to a publication like Portland Monthly. Therein, such foodie searchers will find the names of the 50 best bars in Portland, Sucker Punch, the city's first zero-proof bar being among them. Sucker Punch gained traction and continues to operate mostly as a pop-up bar experience, with one of its most recent experiences being in the city's Goat Blocks.

A quick perusal of the menu offers a look at drinks that sound both whimsical and delicious: Light Rail Coyote, made with D'anjou Pear, lemon, and black pepper, and  Smokestack Lightning, a concoction filled with Lyre's Italian Orange, Cherrywood Smoked Salt, and Smith Tea Zheng Shan, amongst other things. What Sucker Punch doesn't offer is liquor. It doesn't even hold a liquor license. However, that isn't to say that the Sucker Punch experience is an all-ages sort of thing. With its 18-and-over-only policy, the Sucker Punch experience also qualifies as "Adults Only." The bar's time in the Goat Blocks is over, but future pop-ups are planned as a permanent space.

Ocean Beach Café, San Francisco, California

During the first week of its life in January of 2021, the Ocean Beach Café in San Francisco, California, sold out. It didn't hurt that the San Francisco Gate wrote an article about the space right before it opened, but good press only goes so far. For a booze-free bar and bottle shop to sustain its business, it needs to offer something (or somethings) that entices people to come back again and again. It looks as if Ocean Beach Café has got that covered, too. Its Club AF events include Third Thursday Mixers, including an unlimited Happy Hour. There are also mixology classes that encourage would-be booze-free 'tenders to bring out their inner mixology wizard.

As for getting the booze-free drink on, OBC delivers on its laidback Cali vibe with drinks like Good Buzz Daisy and Destroyer of Bad Vibes. They can be enjoyed with one of the café food offerings. Vegan avocado wraps and cauliflower pizza count among the noshables. And for those of you who have eating rituals that include an after-lunch coffee, you might want to try a little something different than your regular cappuccino, like the Espresso Martini, all non-alcoholic, of course.

Ghost Note Coffee, Seattle, Washington

Although Ghost Note Coffee in Seattle, Washington, touts itself mostly as a coffee shop, it's worth pointing out that many of the drinks on its menu teeter into the territory of booze-free beverages. With names like Sun Ship and London Smog, the company's non-alcoholic would feel right at home on any of the booze-friendly menus of our speakeasies of choice in the days of our youth, except they have no booze, of course. The spirit of these drinks also replicates many of the fancier seasonal drinks that you'll find in your neighborhood watering hole come Yuletide. Cases in point? The Ghost Note offers an oatnog, instead of an alcoholic, non-vegan eggnog, and a non-alcoholic spiced cider that includes kick-free rum. (That's rum without the boozy punch for the uninitiated.)

The Ghost Note sits on Seattle's Capitol Hill, positioning it to be a booze-free alternative to that area's many buzz-included bars and nightclubs. For those who'd like to skip the lounge-plus-booze-free-beverage-equals-a-quaint-afternoon experience, there's always an option to take one of Ghost Note's many java and drink offerings home. Just take a look at Ghost Note's store to find your favorite.

Listen Bar, New York, New York

Even if you weren't told that the Listen Bar in New York City practiced the art of booze-free cocktails, you might still get that it is by looking at its logo. The word "bar" in the title is stricken out, offering a hint about the bar's booze-free nature. The other thing you'll get, also from studying its logo, is that there's something worth listening to once you step foot into a Listen Bar event. The "listen," in this case, refers to the fact that all the bartenders are musicians. For those musicians who moonlight as bartenders until their big break comes, this might be a perfect gig.

For the rest of us, a Listen Bar experience can mean an evening of mixology classes or frou-frou little drinks made with the likes of kombucha, zero-proof tequila, or a booze-free rum alternative, care of the Listen Bar's shop. Although the bar attracts the sober-minded, a majority — two-thirds — of the visitors to the bar identify as drinkers. And speaking of visitors, the Listen Bar is like a moveable feast, except for the bar world. It offers one constant pop-up experience after another, allowing people to experience the experience in their own destination of choice.

Mystic Water Kava Bar, Huntington Beach, California

Unlike some kava bars that try to mask the grassy and sometimes bitter taste of kava, the Mystic Water Kava Bar in Huntington Beach, California, embraces kava in its purest form. Guests of this booze-free establishment drink their kava by the shot, with the largest offering being the 30 shots option. Given the dopamine-boosting effect that kava has on the body, this option might be a straight shot to Nirvana. That said, it's not that Mystic Water Kava Bar only serves kava. Chai, coconut water, kombucha, and ginger tea also find spots on the menu. But kava is definitely the favorite here.

For fans of the Mystic Water Kava Bar, this approach falls in line with the bar's mindful and meditative vibe. The scene inside the bar is artsy, filled with music, the occasional yoga or qigong session, and, of course, much kava. In other words, it's a place where "meditation and recreation could make love," per the Mystic Water Kava Bar website.

Sans Bar, Austin, Texas

The tagline on the Sans Bar's website reads, "Come for the connection and zero-proof cocktails; stay for the community." In this way, the Austin, Texas, booze-free bar firmly establishes its intent to be a booze-free home away from home for non-imbibers. Its founder, Chris Marshall, has something of a reputation as someone who has made significant strides in the booze-free, sober space.

Under his guidance, members of the community have learned how to make their own alcohol-free drinks, participated in booze-free pop-up experiences, and celebrated sobriety with nights of music or live readings by renowned authors. To get started with the experience, bar-goers enjoy drinks like Dry Sparking Vanilla Bean, as well as drinks filled with gin and whiskey alternatives. But true to its tagline, it's mostly a place where things happen, the kind of things that entice reluctant bar-goers to go to a bar because they are not about booze but about the bonds that bind us.

The Open Road, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

For most traditional would-be bar owners, getting a liquor license is equivalent to nabbing the Holy Grail. No doubt about it. It opens up a lot of possibilities. However, as Mel Babitz, owner of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania's Open Road pop-up bar and bottle shop, has learned, being booze-free sets free streams of income that aren't available to bar owners due to the restrictions placed by the three-tier system of alcohol distribution — manufacturers to distributors, then wholesalers, and finally, retailers. Non-alcoholic sellers aren't bound by this system.

As such, non-imbibers find drinks in her bottle shop or at her pop-up events they may not find anywhere else in the Pittsburg area. For example, visitors to an Open Road event could get a margarita made from Monday Mezcal (or another similar booze-free brand), allowing them to enjoy the 'rita experience sans booze. For now, the bar-like experiences created by The Open Road are pop-ups, with the bottle shop being its retail location. However, plans are in the works to have a bonafide brick-and-mortar booze-free bar one day soon.

The Other Side, Crystal Lake, Illinois

Of all the booze-free bars we've looked at on this list, this one qualifies as the one that grew most organically. Originally a warehouse for 12-step meetings, it grew into a space that not only fed the sober soul but the sober tummy when what would become The Other Side moved from its original warehouse setting to a restaurant space in Crystal Lake.

Mocktails, like Alchemist's Dream, as well as nitro brews and pumpkin-spiced lattes, encourage people to develop booze-free favorites. And noshery, like turkey quinoa wraps, muffins, and flatbreads, calms the most grumpy of tummies. For those who just need a space to enjoy some booze-free fun, The Other Side offers karaoke nights, sports nights, and holiday parties. That said, sober living still plays a big part of the events that take place at The Other Side. AA still meets there, as do family support groups and Narcan training groups. It was and always will be sober first.

Dry Spokes, Omaha, Nebraska

One of the chief challenges for people who choose not to drink alcohol in social settings is the feeling of being the odd man out. The dearth of booze-free options often makes the contrast between those who drink and those who don't all the sharper. It's this chasm that Dry Spokes in Omaha, Nebraska, tries to bridge. With mocktails like American Tiki, Blueberry Mule, and Car Keys, the non-alcoholic offerings of Dry Spokes are every bit as interesting for the non-booze drinker that his or her drinking counterparts can find at the average bar.

But Dry Spokes doesn't just serve mocktails. There are non-alcoholic beers, like Atmos Oktoberfest, and brunch mocktails, like Irish coffee. Booze-free drink fans can find a cold one at the Dry Spokes bar or meet up with the crew at events, like the local farmer's market, where they can buy bottles of the bar's offerings to take home.