Barhopping Sober

Trying teetotal with DryScene? We offer you sober barhopping tips!

Whether you’re becoming teetotal or just thinking of taking a night off here and there, DryScene is the source for your new sober social life. We have events that will help becoming teetotal or taking a night off the booze much easier because you’ll be having fun with like-minded people! We help you navigate social situations where becoming teetotal may be difficult, whether it be dating or drinks with the boss.

Walking up to the bar and ordering an alcohol-free drink for the first time can be an awkward experience. (Take it from this former party girl!) It’s especially true if it’s a bar where you’ve been loads of times before and they know your “usual.”

There’s no need to feel self-conscious though. Here are a few top tips if you want to stop drinking from DryChick for barhopping sober:

Check it out first online

Restaurants and bars will often have a drinks menu online. If there are a lot of cocktails listed, then you should be able to order most of them without alcohol (also known as a “mocktail”). If it’s a pub, your choices may be a bit more limited but don’t despair, there will always something for you to drink! Many sell alcohol-free ginger beer which quenches your thirst and looks like cider. (Make sure it’s alcohol-free though, as not all ginger beer is.) Also, a sparkling water with lime in a small glass looks just like a vodka tonic, it doesn’t have to be common knowledge that you’re becoming teetotal; so no one will be the wiser. Don’t underestimate the power of a nice glass – I always ask for a diet Coke in a skinny one.

Make it fun for both of you

Bartenders are like performers putting on a show every night. They take pride in the drinks they mix, just as any artist would. The ones worth their margarita salt should know how to make a good-tasting, alcohol-free drink without batting an eyelash. Walk up there confidently and say: “I bet you know how to make a really good drink without alcohol. Surprise me!” It helps to tell them which flavours you like and dislike. (For example, berries yes, elderflower no, sour vs. sweet, etc.)

Watch them pour

Our tips for becoming teetotal include ensuring that no mistakes have been made, as on a busy night, bartenders and servers can be in a rush, so it’s easy to make a mistake and give you an alcoholic cocktail instead of a mocktail. Watching them make your drink is ideal. If you can’t watch, just take a sniff and a sip before the server walks away to make sure it’s alcohol-free. And always compliment them on a drink made well! They’re taking extra time and effort to make you a custom drink. Who knows, maybe they’ll even let you name it!

Take the lead

One way of avoiding temptation is being the one to organise nights out with your friends. Dancing is the easiest to plan because a lot of clubs won’t allow you to bring drinks on the dance floor. Got no rhythm? Event-oriented nights like comedy or bowling are also great choices because the focus is on the fun and not what’s in your glass. Planning dinner out is another option. Lots of Asian restaurants offer creative mocktails and juices so you won’t feel left out if your friends are ordering wine or beer. Your friends may even skip the wine and order a mango lassi with you because they look and taste so good! If the restaurants allow you to bring your own beverages, buy something nice for yourself and ask them for a fancy glass. Stopping drinking may not be as hard as you anticipate!

Be proud

Becoming teetotal is a great thing! You’ll notice that you actually enjoy your nights out more because you’ll savour your friends, the conversation and the overall vibe of the place. (And if you’re single, you’ll make a far better impression without slurring!) You’ll love how you feel the next morning when you wake up without a fuzzy head. You may actually want to take a night off the booze more often!

DryScene believes in strength in numbers! There can be a lot of peer pressure to drink alcohol, particularly in London, so we offer tips for a sober life in those high-pressure situations when becoming teetotal.



*A version of this post appeared on the Macmillan Cancer Support Wellbeing blog for its Go Sober for October 2014 campaign.

DryChick lives in London. She started DryScene to show people that they can have fun without alcohol. She wants to promote a healthy lifestyle and connect like-minded people through her events, where the focus is on the fun and not what’s in your glass. Contact her at 

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