If you’re taking part in Dry January then it could be tempting to avoid all pubs, social gatherings, and life, to just hide under your bed for 31 days until it’s all over. But what if we told you it doesn’t have to be like that?
Pubs are pretty good at remembering Dry January is a thing and utilising it now so, what with the mindful drinking movement also gathering momentum, you’ll often find legitimately great alcohol-free drinks options at your local.
If you’re a pub reading this and thinking ‘we’ve got J20 and full-fat coke, everything’s fine’ – most people over the age of 12 don’t drink those things unless they’re hungover. There are some brilliant producers out there who are making delicious, innovative, non-sugary, adult-orientated alcohol-free drinks – if you want some ideas on what to add to your menu then our festival lineup is a good start, or drop us an email for some recommendations.
Choosing a pub
We’ll be launching our brand new Club Soda Guide in January, which is a comprehensive online guide listing all of the best pubs for mindful drinkers -however, in the meantime, you’ll need to suss out the location without us. Most pubs will list their menus online, and if not then a friendly phone call won’t do any harm. So – for Dry January-ers and pubs alike – these are the things that will put a pub at the top of our list for Dry January…
- The drinks. As already touched on, look for a pub that has decent alcohol-free drinks. If you’re new to mindful drinking then you might not know to look out for alcohol-free craft beers, spirits, and ciders – or kombucha, low-sugar sodas and tonics – but you should because they ARE a thing and they DO taste great! You can also look for non-alcoholic cocktails or interesting ranges of teas and coffees.
- Food. Eating is bloody lovely. Many people around the globe organise an evening out around the food, not the booze. But if you’re from the UK then you might think that ‘eating’s cheating’ – *insert facepalm emoji* – so forget everything you’ve ever learned about how to create a good day or night out and find a venue with good food.
- Seating. This is so important when you’re not drinking. It’s so weird how long we can stand up for when we’re boozing. Sitting down is a must, especially if you’re after a catch-up and some food with mates – so call ahead and reserve a space if you can.
- Games. Having something to do together is also a great way of taking the attention away from booze. Whether it’s a pub quiz, a pool table or some board games, it gives a new angle to the day or evening and you’ll remember that it is possible to laugh without being pissed. If your top pub pick doesn’t have any of this, then ask each person in your gang to bring a game with them (just try not to turn it into gambling session because you’ll probably get booted out).
- The environment and the staff. This is really hard to pre-research without falling into a deep dark Trip Advisor sinkhole, but if you have a tip-off from someone on a good pub with good bar staff (who don’t turn their noses up when you request an alcohol-free beverage), and the right atmosphere for you – then follow the advice.
A lot of people don’t realise that there’s a charity attached to Dry January, but there is (Alcohol Change UK) – and raising money for not drinking is not only a nice way to do a little good in the world – it’s a great way to add a bit of accountability into your sober month. It’s much harder to sack it off when people are sponsoring you not to sack it off.
PUBS: You can encourage people doing a charity challenge to come to your pub as part of their charity challenge and boost their Dry January fundraising.
DRY JANUARY-ERS: Organise a mindful pub crawl and charge your mates to come along.
You can organise a charity fundraiser by plotting the pub crawl route across your town or city using bars which are the best for people off the booze (see list above). Challenge your mates to join you being dry. It’s a great way to boost your Dry January fundraising – and it gives you something to do with all your hangover-free time.
PUBS: Tweet/Facebook/Instagram what you have on offer and suggest locals organise a mindful pubcrawl and include your venue. Put on some special offers to tempt them in. Tag Dry January and us so we can help you get the word out.
You can even encourage customers to boost their Dry January fundraising by asking their mates to sponsor them for every time they visit the pub and stay dry. You can Tweet their efforts as proof!
DRY JANUARY-ERS: Tag us in the pics of your pub crawl and we’ll repost them. Use the hashtags #ClubSodaGuide #MindfulPubCrawl and #MindfulDrinking to let others see your pics and nick ideas from other pub crawls.
To tag us: @joinclubsoda on Instagram and Twitter, @ClubSodaUK on Facebook)
Help us recruit for the guide
Dry January-ers, you can evaluate the pubs you visit to see if they deserve a place on our new guide launching in January – use the form below to let us know!
If you find a venue that rates highly on all counts, then shout it from the rooftops. Post a pub crawl group photo, tagging us and the pub.
If you’d like to find out more about the #ClubSodaGuide launch, then we’ll have a dedicated stand at our Mindful Drinking Festival on 12th & 13th January 2019 at Truman Brewery, where you’ll be able to browse the newly launched guide on iPads and find out how to nominate your venue.
If you’re thinking of doing a sober sprint, would like to cut down your drinking, stop for a while or quit completely – you can sign up to our FREE mailing list for advice, inspiration, events information and more. You can also join our private Facebook group to access our webinars live (check the ‘articles’ section for the saved videos) and to share stories, advice, and support with like-minded people on different stages of their journeys. Want to keep socialising but not sure which places are good for alcohol-free drink choices? Head to our Club Soda pub guide where we list the best drinks and places for mindful drinkers.
And don’t forget our Mindful Drinking Festivals – the next one is in London on 12th & 13th of January!
Club Soda is a “Pay What You Want” movement. If you liked this article or any of the other resources we provide, we ask that you donate on a one-off or regular basis. You can do it in our secure online shop using PayPal or a credit/debit card. Read more here.