5 St. Louis bars serving thoughtfully crafted nonalcoholic drinks
Recent years have seen trends like Dry January and Sober October gain traction as more adults of drinking age choose to avail themselves of socially sanctioned opportunities to curtail their alcohol consumption. Whether the expansion of thoughtfully crafted nonalcoholic (NA) spirits is helping drive this trend, or the other way around, increasing numbers of bars and restaurants are offering well-curated NA wine, cocktail and beer lists. “There are those that do not drink ever, but there is [also] a growing number of people that just don’t want to drink all the time or want to pace themselves throughout the evening,” observed Keyan Still, beverage industry consultant. “Having sophisticated options for those people will allow them to keep a drink in their hand without getting to an embarrassing point of inebriation.”
Patrick Gioia, co-owner and beverage director for The Vandy and STL Barkeep and brand advocate for BARE Zero Proof Spirits, agreed that the number of sober and sober-curious (those interested in exploring an alcohol-free lifestyle) individuals is “growing at an astounding rate currently.” Implementing NA drink programs “also promotes safe spaces for people [and] brings a sense of community back to those who don’t drink” while contributing to the bar’s bottom line. “As a bar owner, it’s hard not to say, ‘I don’t want to make more money.’ The patron goes from a soda water or juice to a crafted cocktail that they enjoy more and will spend money to have,” Gioia pointed out.
While beer may be the most developed of the non-alcoholic categories, wine and spirits are following suit, and other NA options like cannabis-infused beverages are growing at lightning speed. Here’s how a few local bar professionals are shifting their drinking habits to include more (or all) NA options, as well as places to explore the trend.
The Vandy is your place to go if you want to dive down the rabbit hole of classic cocktails with an NA twist, as the zero-proof spirits collection runs deep at this establishment. It also keeps things fresh with a rotating alcohol-free craft cocktail.
1301 S. Vandeventer Ave., St. Louis, Instagram: thevandystl
In addition to non-alcoholic cocktails on draft, you will also find a rotating selection of alcohol-free beer, wine and an aperitif on the beautifully curated beverage menu, as well as delta-8 cannabis seltzers. And be sure to look for the optional booze or booze-free pairings when one of their dinner pop-ups rolls around.
2509 S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314.328.1094, press-stl.com
ROCK STAR TACOS
Bar manager Naomi Roquet builds NA cocktails using her housemade syrups and tinctures. Culinary ingredients like fruits and herbs create non-alcoholic flavor profiles that mimic the nuances of their boozy equivalents. And don’t worry, she leaves all her concoctions behind Rock Star Tacos’ bar for endless options even if she isn’t there.
4916 Shaw Ave., St. Louis, 314.571.9016, rockstartacos.com
SASHA’S WINE BAR GROUP
Led by certified sommelier and programs coordinator Denise Mueller, this bar group has added a rotating selection of zero-proof wine to their extensive wine portfolio. They are currently offering Fritz Müller NA Müller-Thurgau Trocken and Leitz Eins Zwei Zero sparkling rosé at the Shaw location and Giesen NA Sauvignon Blanc and Freixenet NA premium sparkling at the De Mun location. At their casual bar concept Barrio, they have a full array of NA spirits and beer.
4069 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, 314.771.7274; 706 De Mun Ave., Clayton, 314.863.7274, sashaswinebar.com; Barrio, 740 De Mun Ave., Clayton, 314.725.0322, barrioburgersandfloats.com
POP’S BLUE MOON
With over 30 non-alcoholic canned cocktails and a large variety of spirit-free liquors and booze-free beers available, Pop’s Blue Moon is at the forefront of the NA bar movement. Non-alcoholic sales account for an astounding 30% of the bar’s total revenue, according to co-owner Josh Grigaitis. The bar also currently operates as the tasting room for Mighty Kind’s NA botanical and cannabis-infused seltzers and other beverages.
5249 Pattison Ave., St. Louis, 314.776.4200, popsbluemoon.com
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