Jan 3, 2023 - Food and Drink

Five options for Dry January in Austin

Aba's "Aba's Faux-Loma ," made with house-made pineapple fresno cordial, lime and grapefruit soda. Photo: Samantha Brauer/Courtesy of Aba

A growing number of local bars are dedicating portions of their drink menu to nonalcoholic options, and if last year was any indication, those businesses will see more customers opting for booze-free selections during Dry January.

Why it matters: Nearly 18% of Texans reported excessive drinking in 2021, slightly higher than the national average, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Alcohol disturbs sleep, disrupts diets and can contribute to anxiety and depression, according to Alcohol Change, a British organization that promotes Dry January.
  • Even moderate drinkers who binge alcohol are at a significantly higher risk of developing alcohol problems than those who drink the same amount overall but don't binge, according to a 2022 study from researchers at the University of Texas.

Where to go: Sans Bar, at 1818 E. 12th St., bills itself as Austin's only sober bar, giving you that pub feel — think live music, fancy drinks and connection — while skipping the alcohol.

  • Aba: Try the restaurants rotating zero-proof menu all year long, including their paloma, sans booze, known as the "Unplugged," made with house green juice, ginger, lime and pineapple.
  • Vinaigrette: Dine on the stunning patio and choose from a selection of tinctures and tonics, including a "Kale Apple Spritz" with alkalizing kale, apple juice, lemon, ginger and seltzer.
  • Tillie's: Head to the Hill Country for Tillie's zero-proof beverage menu, which includes a "Blueberry Cardamom Smash," "Lavender Lemonade" and "Hibiscus Lemonade."
  • Roosevelt Room: This classic bar has a selection of three nonalcoholic drinks, including "NA'Groni" with Monday zero proof gin, Giffard Bitter Aperitif syrup, Verjus Rouge, gentian tea, caramel, glycerin, salt tincture and orange oils.

Of note: Check websites for locations and hours.

The bottom line: Austin has plenty of options for those who skip the alcohol. And for the sober curious, Dry January is a great place to start.

Dig deeper: Alcohol-free booze flows at Austin businesses


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