We tried Columbus' first "sober bar"
The Dry Mill feels like a standard sports bar at first glance, but a closer look offers hints of a different type of vibe.
- The bartender serves up water without asking. The bathroom offers mints and mouthwash.
- Most notably is the sign on the entrance door: "No alcohol beyond this point."
Driving the news: Columbus' first "sober bar" held its long-awaited grand opening two weeks ago on Fourth Street near Capitol Square.
Why it matters: The Dry Mill has already proven popular among the region's non-drinking community as well as patrons interested in checking out the unique business.
- Two friends were inspired to open the non-alcoholic restaurant and bar following their own journeys toward sobriety.
- In the corner is a small plant used as a symbol in Alcoholics Anonymous to represent the hope of recovery and the gift of paying it forward.
👋 Tyler here. I stopped in for a bite to eat between reporting trips downtown.
- Lunchtime has been quiet these first few weeks, aside from workers from nearby businesses and the YWCA.
- Things pick up during evenings and the past two weekends have been, in the words of the kitchen manager, "killer."
On the menu: A wide variety of zero-ABV beers, energy drinks, teas and alcohol-free cocktails.
- On the bar manager's recommendation, I tried the Island Breeze, a beach-themed blend of passion fruit, pomegranate, ginger, guava, coconut and Sprite.
- At no point did it make me yearn for alcohol — I just appreciated a delicious cold drink on another 80-degree day.
- I also ordered a sweet potato quinoa burger, thinking it would be fitting to wash down a non-alcoholic drink with a non-meat burger. It was divine.
The bottom line: Come for the novel experience, stay for the welcoming environment and solid menu offerings.
- And you might want to come sooner than later. I predict it'll be packed when the word starts to get out.
If you go: 11am-11pm daily, 79 S. 4th St. Closed Tuesday.
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