This project will meet a great need in the South Bend community- providing opportunities for those who don't drink to connect socially and enjoy a night out. I have heard from many sober people, whether in recovery or choosing to be sober for other reasons, that they enjoy going out but that they don't enjoy navigating the alcohol infused social scene- reft with drunk people and fewer drinking options for themselves. As sober bars, such as Sans in Austin, have been popping up around the country they have been wildly popular options for those in search of connection. I'd like to test this concept in South Bend through two pop up events this summer. Especially now, as drinking rates have increased due to people's lack of connection, providing this option not only allows a wider demographic of the South Bend community to have more awesome things to do, but sets norms promoting wellness for people who may not be big drinkers anyway. I also think that there can be stereotypes about what it means to be sober- that people who don't drink don't want to be out enjoying the nightlife, but that's just not accurate.
I have been in contact with other local leaders who are very supportive of this idea and am connecting with others outside South Bend who do similar things in their communities. I think this awesome grant will not just provide awesome opportunities, but plant seeds for even bigger awesome things to come for the South Bend sober community.
I am hopeful these sober bars will not be one offs, and any profit made from drinks will fold into other social opportunities in the fall.
Funded by South Bend, IN (May 2022)