You could argue that people who succumb to Dry January deserve to sit at home alone every night of the month or until they die of boredom. But deep down we still like some of these people, despite their bad decisions, and we would still like to see them at some point during these 31 days. So here’s a handful of bars with non-alcoholic drink options that are a far cry from the flat, syrupy soda typically dispensed from a hose by bartenders. Hopefully this list will also be helpful for full-time teetotalers, whom we respect infinitely more than trendy ascetics.
This cozy bar/coffee shop hybrid with a nod to Renaissance woman Mae West (who was born nearby) caters to creative types who thrive on caffeine and spirits alike. Open from 7am to 2am, it’s a space for intellectual conversations, musical performances, or a low-key first date. One of you sips a nitro cold brew on tap from Brooklyn Roasting Company, the other a Left Hand nitro milk stout, no discrimination.
379 Union Ave., Williamsburg
Montana’s Trail House
The much-maligned switchel, drink of the hipsters, is house-made here at Bushwick’s Appalachian-themed bar/restaurant. But forget the haters: when you’re forgoing alcohol, you’ll drink what you can get, and a “traditional mountain soda made with house-made apple cider vinegar aged in bourbon barrels with fresh ginger and maple” sounds pretty damn spectacular compared to water. If your friends get FOMO, they can order it spiked.
455 Troutman Street, Bushwick
At this café, bar, coffee shop and event space all-in-one, the drinking options also run the gamut. Of the 30 tap lines of beer and wine, one is reserved for house-made ginger ale, another for seltzer, and another for rotating flavors of Brooklyn Kombucha (KBBK). Treat yourself to the peppermint hot chocolate (from house-made peppermint syrup); one sip and your lushy pal will want to pour his beer down the drain.
61 Bergen Street, Boerum Hill
Butter and Scotch
A bar and a bakery: brilliant. While plenty of sweet alcoholic concoctions are offered here, when it comes to shakes, malts and floats, who really needs booze? Take your pick from vanilla, chocolate, coffee, strawberry, and vegan coconut ice cream and make it a shake or a float; blend in cake or pie (surely negroni pie doesn’t count as alcohol, right?) too if doin’ it big is the only way you know how to take the edge off.
818 Franklin Avenue, Crown Heights
South 4th Bar
Order an Amigo (Mexican hot chocolate) while your amigo has a High Five ($5 High Life and a shot) and everybody’ll be happy at this laid-back South Williamsburg tavern. Get lit on Red Bull and dominate Kings of Karaoke on Saturday nights, or sip an Arnold Palmer while watching monthly alt-comedy show Subreddit Live. On Sundays, make your own (virgin) Bloody Mary, all day for just $5 (sure, you can have an extra pity olive.)
90 S. 4th Street, Williamsburg
This Red Hook mainstay with a New Orleans bent knows how to serve up a stiff drink, but they’ll also indulge your inner kid with a vanilla or chocolate egg cream, served any time of day. A fresh house-made ginger limeade, with its perfect combination of sour and sweet, will hold its own against the boozy tropical offerings at Tiki Thursday.
365 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook
Roebling Tea Room
Good news, no one will give you a hard time for drinking tea here! Have an iced hibiscus or a selection of hot teas from Serendipitea. House-made ginger lemonade, Fever Tree ginger beer, Mexican coke and San Pellegrino are also on offer.
143 Roebling Street, Williamsburg
Impress your beer nerd friends with your understanding of the process of dry-hopping, err, that is as it applies to Brooklyn Kombucha, on draft here amongst 18 beer taps. Greenpoint’s dual beer store and hang out is a casual spot to grab an early drink or two with a friend and then see where the night takes you. Who knows, if you’re lucky maybe after the second ‘bucha you’ll start to feel the trace .5 % alcohol; if not, at least you put in some face time with the world before the retreat home to Netflix.
78 Greenpoint Avenue, Greenpoint
The Caribbean-themed haunt under the BQE is known for its creative tropical drink offerings, which, lucky for you, extend to the non-alcoholic variety. Try the house-made soda pop served in flavors of ginger, rhubarb and coconut; sip underneath the canopy, while enjoying a baked patty, and you’ll fit right in.
64 Frost Street, Williamsburg
The popular Crown Heights beer garden, home to Saturday night dance parties and a monthly reading series, shares a space with Dutch Boy Burger. That means you can partake in delicious, wacky milkshakes such as the toasted marshmallow, peanut butter and jelly, or nutella and banana, at least until midnight when the kitchen closes. Quench your thirst with a soda made by the retro soft drink company Foxon Park, available in cream, kola, diet kola, ginger ale, seltzer, and orange.
618 St. John’s Place, Crown Heights