The Listen Bar is a sober pop-up party SASHA CHAROENSUB

New Yorkers intoxicated with non-alcoholic nightlife

The dance floor is full of ravers waving their arms wildly and whooping. Some men strip off their tops while a woman hands out shots to refresh them. These are not cheap spirits but Amazonia, a “non-alcoholic elixir” that gives “strong energy”. It tastes of herbal tea gone cold.

It is 9pm and I am at Ecstatic Dance, a strictly sober party. The rules are simple: no booze, no drugs, no shoes and no speaking on the dance floor.

The twice-monthly event, held in a cavernous church beside Washington Square Park, is just one offering in New York city’s flourishing sober nightlife scene.

“I was so pleasurably surprised when these sober dance parties started. It’s great exercise and a chance for self-expression,” says Alexandra, 32, a creative director who gave up alcohol seven years ago. “I was just bored of the ups and downs that came with drinking and wanted to find more authentic experiences.”

As mindful, young New Yorkers cut down on alcohol, or quit it altogether, sober-friendly events are springing up and booze-free bars are launching. Last month, an alcohol-free cocktail joint called Getaway opened in Greenpoint, a hip quarter of north Brooklyn, where dewy-skinned professionals happily pay $13 a pop for 0% “mixed drinks” such as Kindred Spritz.

Why do millennials eschew Manhattans in favour of mocktails, and get more excited about herbal elixirs than craft beers? The answer appears to be one part productivity to two parts health consciousness with a dash of woo-woo.

“Not drinking means I can maximise my life,” says brand consultant Siena deLisser, 28, over a fig and cinnamon concoction at Getaway. “I still go out late but the next day I feel fine and am able to do 5,000 things with my day.”

Source: The Times

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