Try these Atlanta bars, stores and pop-ups for grown-up nonalcoholic drinks

Four spots cater to booze-free drink crowd
Aja Wolfe, the owner of Sober Social in Castleberry Hill, mixes a nonalcoholic drink behind the bar. / Courtesy of Aja Wolfe

Credit: Courtesy photo

Credit: Courtesy photo

Aja Wolfe, the owner of Sober Social in Castleberry Hill, mixes a nonalcoholic drink behind the bar. / Courtesy of Aja Wolfe

Looking to drink less in the new year, or even cut out booze altogether? You’re not alone.

According to data from drinks market analysis firm IWSR, no and low-alcohol consumption will increase by a third by 2026.

If you’re looking to drink less, there are several recently-opened bars, bottle shops and pop-ups around Atlanta that seek to help keep you hydrated in a grown-up way, without the next-day hangover.

Luther Ocasio, founder of non-alcoholic Altered Bar, shows off a drink.
COURTESY OF LUTHER OCASIO

Credit: Special

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Credit: Special

Altered Bar and Bardo. Luther Ocasio started learning about and experimenting with herbs in high school, but it wasn’t until 2022 that he called on his longtime hobby to launch a new business.

That’s when Ocasio launched Altered Bar, a pop-up that specializes in nonalcoholic drinks, tinctures, cordials and infusions made with fresh fruits, herbs, florals and fungi.

An artist by trade who specializes in what he calls “immersive design,” Ocasio also launched a sister concept called Bardo, an immersive gallery and lounge in Atlanta’s West End neighborhood. In the space, Ocasio serves his nonalcoholic drinks while hosting events like movie nights and tea ceremonies while showcasing his art and that of other local artists.

While the beverage selection for both Altered Bar and Bardo are constantly changing, a couple of drinks make regular appearances, including Love Potion No. 9, made with damiana, rose and pomegranate juice, and the Purple Haze with butterfly pea flower, lemonade, passion flowers and lavender. Over the past year, he’s incorporated fresh fruit into his drinks, and offers guests a cannabis infusion option.

“I didn’t really want to encourage heavy alcohol use,” Ocasio said. “I’m looking to create experiences where people are connecting on deeper levels, and it felt right to fuse my herbal practice with my artistic practice.”

Altered Bar: instagram.com/altered_bar/

Bardo: 691 W. Whitehall St., Atlanta. instagram.com/bardo.atl

Soberish. It was Mehrnush Saadat’s chance visit from a friend that sparked the idea for Soberish, a nonalcoholic bottle shop open since August 2023 in Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood. The friend had come with a bottle of an alcohol-free drink made with hemp derivative Delta 8.

“It just hit me that I wasn’t drinking as much anymore, and realizing that there were other options,” said Saadat, who said she’s not sober herself but drinks very minimally. “It all sparked from there. It really piqued my interest.”

Soberish sells a wide variety of nonalcoholic spirits, wines, beers and adaptogenic drinks, as well as CBD and THC drinks and products to a customer base that Saadat describes as “all across the board” in terms of age and why they’re looking for nonalcoholic options.

Saadat, who maintains her day job as an attorney, said one of her primary objectives with Soberish is to educate the community on the world of alcohol-free options.

“I’ve carefully selected and vetted everything that comes into the store, and I can explain it to customers because I’ve tried it,” she said. “A lot of people aren’t familiar with nonalcoholic products, so it needs some explanation. For instance, people are often impressed and surprised by how good a nonalcoholic wine can taste. People expect it to taste like sparkling apple juice, and it’s not that at all.”

The store hosts tastings of new products on Saturdays as well as private events, and Saadat hopes to introduce classes and workshops in the space.

1963 Hosea L. Williams Drive SE, Atlanta. besoberish.com

A drink from the menu of Sober Social in Atlanta's Castleberry Hill neighborhood. / Courtesy of Aja Wolfe

Credit: Courtesy of Aja Wolfe

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Credit: Courtesy of Aja Wolfe

Sober Social. When Aja Wolfe decided she wanted to open a business offering nonalcoholic drinks, she figured her revenue would likely be split between coffee drinks and nonalcoholic cocktails.

Nearly a year after opening her bar and lounge Sober Social in Castleberry Hill, she said her zero-proof cocktail business has far outpaced her caffeinated beverages.

Wolfe, who didn’t take her first sip of alcohol until she was 33, said while she’s not sober, she drinks very little alcohol and wanted to create a space for people like her who wanted to participate in cocktail culture, but without the alcohol.

“I looked around, and there was nowhere to go that wasn’t a coffee or juice bar where you could have that culture without alcohol and still be an adult,” Wolfe said.

“I’m always looking to create sip-worthy drinks and stay away from them just tasting like juice,” said Wolfe, who bartended years ago and comes up with the recipes for Sober Social’s drinks.

Favorites include the Social Butterfly with passion fruit lemon drop, bitters and lemon, and the Social Live Wire, the bar’s version of an espresso martini with an espresso shot, Kentucky 74 bourbon alternative and a toffee caramel rim. The menu also offers canna cocktails with a hemp-derived Delta 8 mixture, nonalcoholic beers and wines as well as coffee drinks.

Looking ahead, Wolfe plans to launch a nonalcoholic beverage distribution company as well as beef up Sober Social’s event programming.

141 Magnum St. SW, Atlanta. thesobersocialbar.com

A selection of drinks sold at the Zero Co. / Courtesy of the Zero Co.

Credit: Courtesy of the Zero Co.

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Credit: Courtesy of the Zero Co.

The Zero Co. Husband and wife Cory and Malory Atkinson opened boutique bottle shop Elemental Spirits Co. on North Highland Avenue in 2020, with a small offering of nonalcoholic options.

When the space next door became available, the Atkinsons decided to use it to build on the growing interest in low- and no-alcohol beverages. The Zero Co. debuted in late 2022, “and it’s been a success since opening,” said general manager Rori Robinson.

Zero Co. started out offering nonalcoholic products that were popular at Elemental Spirits, and have since more than doubled inventory with offerings like vinegar-based wines known as proxies.

Wines come from either established wineries that are moving into the nonalcoholic space or NA wine start-ups. Almost all the wines are dealcoholized, meaning they’re made as “the real thing,” with alcohol removed through distillation process.

The store also offers weekly tastings and monthly workshops. This month, Robinson will host a class called New Year, N/A You, leading participants through making two booze-free cocktails. Another class will walk attendees through recipes from the book “The Dry Challenge” by Hilary Sheinbaum.

626 North Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta. thezeroco.co

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