Do you ever feel like you have to drink to be social or feel pressure to drink at events when you don’t want to? Whether you are sober or sober-curious, Denver has a new option for you. Awake offers a completely sober bar experience to give the sober and sober-curious a 100% non-alcoholic place to gather, socialize and truly connect without the pressure and temptation of alcohol.
There are only a handful of sober bars in the country, but the few that exist are paving the way for others by normalizing the concept. Sans Bar in Austin believes that real connection happens when people are sober and has the motto, “Stay social. Stay sober.” Awake owners — husband and wife Christy and Billy Wynne — believe similarly. “It’s a radical notion that you can be social and not drink. Part of what we want to do is to change that,” said Billy.
Christy and Billy began their sober journey when they were living abroad in Provence, France — a region famous for its rosé wine. “We joke that we are the only people who ever quit drinking while living in Provence,” said Christy. Prior to moving to Provence, Christy practiced integrative medicine as a physician assistant in Denver. “I saw a lot of women hitting a wall with hormones. My intuition was screaming at me and I knew that alcohol was the driving problem,” she said. While living in Provence, she had a lot more time to be contemplative and dive head first into the topic. She quit drinking, wrote an article on the harmful effects of alcohol on the human body, and shortly after, Billy followed suit. “A lot of guidelines are now saying that no amount of alcohol is safe to drink. We are starting to see the same trend that we saw in tobacco years ago,” Christy said.
Upon moving back to Denver, the couple remained sober and Christy had received a lot of great feedback from her article. She started her own coaching business — Dance Yourself Clean Coaching — to help women find freedom in their relationship with alcohol through self-care. “We began to see the trend of non-alcoholic spirits in Europe and knew it had huge potential here,” Christy explained. “We are very focused on creating a sense of welcomeness and we’ve noticed a real outpouring of people who support it,” said Billy. While there aren’t many 100% sober bars yet, Billy and Christy believe that once they start to pop up, there will be an outpouring of people who love the concept. “People have been coming out of the woodwork letting us know they are so happy and excited to have a place like this,” Christy said.
Awake doesn’t only operate as a bar, it operates as a non-alcoholic liquor store and coffee shop as well. In the morning you can order coffee from Queen City coffee and pastries from Aspen Baking Company as well as purchase non-alcoholic spirits, wine and beer. In the afternoon, Awake turns into a bar where guests can gather and form connections without the pressure and buzz that alcohol creates.
At the bar, you can order beer, wine, spirits and mocktails like a margarita, gin and tonic and Manhattan — all non-alcoholic. Christy and Billy stock the bar and “liquor store” with products from the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and Australia to create a vast array of options — some that have a taste similar to alcohol and some that don’t.
Awake also has a charitable component to the business. Two percent of all sales and 20% of profits will go to charity partners like Florence Crittenton Services, Housed Working and Healthy and more. “Our primary purpose is to serve the community — everyone on the spectrum from sober to sober curious. Working with these organizations inspires what we do every day,” said Billy.
Whether you’re sober or interested in trying out one of Awake’s alcohol-free cocktails, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. You might even prefer the alcohol-free environment to a traditional bar.
Awake is located at 2240 N Clay St #100, Denver. Open Monday – Wednesday 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Thursday 6:30 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday – Saturday 6:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday 6:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Bar service starts at 5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 12 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.