The Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks and Sober Things to Do in LA

It's fun to have sober fun but you have to know how.

It would be easy to look at Dry January as penance, a sort of self-flagellation for end-of-year excess, but sobriety doesn’t need to be a spugna. Choosing alcohol-free things to do instead of going to a bar is fun, liberating, and in LA these days it is also extremely easy.

LA has long held a reputation for wellness and active, healthy things to do, so it makes perfect sense that sober activities are all around us. If you want to maintain your drinking habits but replace the alcohol with something zero-proof, the non-alcoholic cocktail and n/a drink options have exploded in recent years, from full programs at some of the city’s best restaurants and bars to ready-to-drink cans and bottles of non-alcoholic wine from specialty bottle shops all over town. And if you’re looking for entirely new alcohol-free activities to reorient your whole routine towards sober living, LA is full of them, from hikes to spas, museums to sports, and so much more. Whether you’re in it for a day, a month, or you’ve chosen to embrace a fully clean and sober life, here are some of our favorite alcohol-free things to do in LA for Dry January and every day thereafter.

non-alcoholic cocktail at meteora in la
Photo courtesy of Meteora

Non-Alcoholic Drinks in LA

Where to Get Non-Alcoholic Cocktails

Giving up alcohol doesn’t have to mean giving up cocktails, and it doesn’t even have to mean giving up the bar experience. Stylish West Hollywood hotspot Employees Only, for example, has a special Dry January menu going for the entire month, with cocktails like the Sin Sbagliato, an on-trend combination of zero proof tequila, bitter aperitif, and sparkling wine. You can also track the functional cocktail pop-up Bar Nuda as they mix drinks alongside yoga flows, poetry workshops, sound baths, and at dance parties all over town.

Keep your eyes peeled for Stay., a fully non-alcoholic cocktail bar and lounge that’s set to open in Chinatown within the next couple weeks. The drink menu comes from Derek Brown, author of the book Mindful Drinking, and makes use of all sorts of cold-pressed juices, fresh herbs, and zero-proof spirits. There will also be vegan food from Erica Daking of Highland Park mainstay Kitchen Mouse.

bar seating at two michelin-starred providence in la
Photo courtesy of Providence

Non-Alcoholic Drinks at Restaurants

Some of the very best restaurants in LA have also embraced Dry January and non-alcoholic drinking of late. The two Michelin-starred restaurant Providence has recently introduced an alcohol free pairing for their tasting menu, which features typically elegant and creative drinks like a Hibiscus, Cherry, and Coffee Tisane and a Rhubarb Consommé with Tarragon and Black Pepper. Kato has long had an emphasis on non-alcoholic drinks to go with their tasting menu and at the bar, with an alcohol-free flight or options that can be ordered a la carte like the Garden Tonic with bitter melon and cucumber. In the lounge at Chef Jordan Kahn’s experimental restaurant Meteora, the cocktails are all based on wild blends of juices and herbs, so the non-alcoholic cocktails hardly miss a beat. And the legendary Spago is in on this too—Bar Director Adam Fournier has developed a spirit-free menu of cocktails that includes a house-made Spirit Free Rose Champagne, a force-carbonated blend of rose petals, white tea, verjus rouge, and more.

Non-Alcoholic Wine Shops and Stores

If you want to bring your sober drinking practice home, there are several great options to pick up bottles of non-alcoholic wine and other spirits. Most of LA’s stylish superettes and snack shops have embraced non-alcoholic wine and other 0.0% spirits, regularly stocking brands like LA-based Optimist, Ghia, and more. If you’d rather not be tempted by other bottles, though, there are two great places to pick up zero proof drinks—The New Bar in Venice and Soft Spirits in Silver Lake. Both shops are stylish and well-curated, with great selections that will make any sober evening at home feel special. The New Bar has regular tastings and happy hours featuring the brands they carry, and Soft Spirits recently introduced a monthly bottle club so you can get their favorite picks delivered right to your door.

cafe exterior of the new bar non-alcoholic wine shop in venice
Photo courtesy of The New Bar

Sober Date Ideas in LA

Not long after she opened her non-alcoholic bottle shop The New Bar, Brianda Gonzalez spoke to Thrillist and offered a few suggestions for things to do with a special someone that don’t involve alcohol.

Exercise as a date is one of the most LA suggestions possible, and if you want an extended time to get to know each other without the blur of a bar, a hike is a great choice. The Santa Monica Mountains are full of great hiking, and Gonzalez suggests a stroll up Tuna Canyon, which offers a beautiful series of trails right on the Malibu-Topanga border, leading up to a lovely view point. A nice hike pairs well with non-alcoholic beer, or maybe a glass of Non #2, a sparkling wine alternative made with pear and kombu.

For Gonzalez, taking a break from alcohol can provide a perfect opportunity to explore new hobbies, pick up new skills or revisit old interests, and taking an art class is a way to do any and all of the above. Good Dirt LA is a ceramics studio that offers fun introductory classes that make for a less conventional and more engaging date experience. And if you’re nervous about going on a sober date, having an activity planned and led by an instructor can help take a lot of that pressure off.

She also suggests an adorable and wholesome day of adventuring around the Westside, stopping by the Mar Vista Farmers Market for fruit and snacks, popping in to The New Bar for a bottle or two, and then taking a picnic to the beach.

tennis group class at LVBL Club in LA
Photo courtesy of LVBL Club

More Sober Things to Do in LA

Play Sports in LA

People make friends at bars, sure, but there’s a better way to casually socialize with strangers: sports. Athletic competition is fun, engaging, and a nice low-pressure, zero-proof way to break down social walls—you really feel like you know someone after chasing them around a soccer pitch for a few hours, even if you’ve hardly spoken. LVBL Club tennis classes were one of our favorite discoveries of the summer, a fun and social tennis game that encourages exercise, flow, and conversation. There’s also Pick Me Up Soccer, a weekly friendly game with a group discussion afterwards, and a ton of organized leagues around town.

Museums to Visit in LA

Instead of boozy brunch, use your weekend days to visit or revisit some of LA’s incredible wealth of museums. You could go for the classics like LACMA, MOCA, the Broad, or the Getty, or you could get a little wackier and visit some of LA’s fantastic oddball museums like the Museum of Neon Art or Craft Contemporary. And this month, head over to lowbrow gallery La Luz de Jesus for a stunning, surreal show by FADNAT, who is now sober but whose art is supremely trippy without the use of any mind-altering substances.

Spas in LA

LA spa culture is outstanding, from luxurious pampering all-day treatments to more casual options like 24-hour Korean-style spas and everywhere in between. Take a little bit of your former bar budget—that surplus is one of the underrated perks of sober living—and splurge on some self-care. You’ve earned it.

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Additional reporting contributed by Danielle Dorsey.

Ben Mesirow is Thrillist's LA Staff Writer, and an Echo Park native who writes TV, fiction, food, and sports. At one time or another, his writing has appeared in The LA Times, Litro, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Los Angeles Magazine, and scratched into dozens of desks at Walter Reed Middle School.