NYC’s sober scene: Where to party without the booze

You don’t need alcohol to have fun.

In a city filled with wine bars and boozy brunches, nightlife spots can be uncomfortable for nondrinkers. But you don’t need alcohol to have fun.

If you have a sober lifestyle and still want to party, the first step is to realize that life doesn’t end when you stop consuming alcohol. For some people it’s quite the opposite.

House music DJ Mike Palladino, 25, is the epitome of nightlife, performing at clubs and bars throughout the borough. He’s also a recovering addict and still goes to clubs, such as 1 Oak and Space Ibiza New York, without consuming alcohol.

Palladino says he’s more social going out sober than when he was drinking: “Now I remember when I have a good time, and that’s the best thing.”

But if bars and clubs are too much to tolerate, there are plenty of online communities and alcohol-free events in the city. Here are some places and resources for when you want to have a sober night out.


Clean Fun Network

Clean Fun Network, launched by Jimmy Hamm and MJ Gottlieb, is a website and social network specifically for the sober community. The duo aims to put together events, such as dinner and a show or even group vacations, for those looking for a fun night out minus the booze. There is also a mobile app that includes a dating feature where Clean Fun members can meet others in their city. In the past three months the app has added nearly 600 users.


Smart Party NYC

Lynn Earley founded Smart Party more than 20 years ago for alcohol-free adults, who she calls “conscious creatives,” as an alternative to the bar scene. Past events have included dance parties with live music, free salsa lessons and daytime meetups at local hangouts and cafes. Parties also provide an array of healthy snacks and beverages, such as the group’s signature “Smartinis,” made with organic juices and flavored seltzers.


Morning Gloryville NYC

The party doesn’t need to stop when the sun comes up, and it won’t with this all-ages, early-morning sober rave. Morning Gloryville hit New York last year and it continues to serve up fresh smoothies and coffee at its colorful monthly dance parties equipped with DJs, yoga and massage tables. Next rave is July 30, 6:30 a.m., $20 (ages 12 and under free); Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square S.,


Fat Cat

The late night jazz bar and cultural venue goes beyond the typical bar scene of just drinks and music. The venue has a selection of games to play and game tournaments, including billiards, table tennis, shuffleboard, foosball and classic board games like chess, checkers and Scrabble. Bar-goers can also catch nightly live music and jam sessions. 75 Christopher St., 212-675-6056,


Peoples Improv Theater

Skip the bar and find comedy entertainment every night a week at the Peoples Improv Theater, which hosts daily stand-up shows, improvisational performances and theater. You can even develop your own performance skills through various workshops and classes-maybe you’ll end up on the stage yourself one night. 123 E. 24th St., 212-563-7488,

LISA BROWN. Special to amNewYork