Ready for Sober October? These 5 Cincinnati Bars Are Serving Up Serious Non-Alcoholic Sips

People across the world are quitting alcohol for the month to give their bodies a break before the holiday season starts — and bars and restaurants in Cincinnati are prepared.

click to enlarge HomeMakers bar has a menu section devoted to non-alcoholic cocktails. - PHOTO: KARA DRISCOLL
Photo: Kara Driscoll
HomeMakers bar has a menu section devoted to non-alcoholic cocktails.

You’ve heard of Dry January, but what about Sober October? Thousands of people across the world are quitting alcohol for the month to give their bodies a break before the holiday season starts — and bars and restaurants in Cincinnati are prepared. 

Sober October started seven years ago as a fundraising campaign for Macmillan Cancer Support, a U.K.-based cancer charity. The campaign’s primary goal is raising money, but the month also emphasizes the importance of reflecting on your relationship with alcohol. 

Much like Dry January, the Sober October movement has caught on around the U.S. Reducing the amount of alcohol you consume, even for a month, can have a positive impact on your health, says wellness website Healthline. Cutting out alcohol can decrease your risk for cardiovascular issues and cancer (the CDC says longterm, excessive alcohol consumption contributes to cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum); give your liver a chance to recoup; improve your sleep habits; and even help you lose weight. 

If you’re ready to give it a shot (no pun intended), there are plenty of places to get non-alcoholic beers and cocktails that won’t feel like a sacrifice. While MadTree is working on developing a nonalcoholic beer option and newly opened Somerset has plenty of fancy mocktail options, there is no shortage of other places to try for a sober Saturday or Sunday.

Here are five spots to saddle up to the bar and get something special that won’t leave your head hurting in the morning. 

click to enlarge HomeMaker's Candy Corn mocktail - PHOTO: KARA DRISCOLL
Photo: Kara Driscoll
HomeMaker's Candy Corn mocktail

HomeMakers Bar

With a spirit-free section built into their menu, HomeMakers Bar will be your Sober October sanctuary.

You can order a pint of Athletic Brewing’s Free Wave Hazy IPA ($6) or a glass of non-alcoholic Sparkling Riesling ($11) from Germany’s respected Riesling producer, Leitz. This fruity, bubbly delight could easily become your go-to drink even after Sober October. 

But the Bartender Choice Spirit-free Cocktail ($6) is what HomeMakers' does best. 

“(A mocktail) is one of our favorite things to make,” said Julia Petiprin, CEO and director of operations for HomeMakers. “It’s more of a challenge. You have to be crafty.” 

Perfect for fall, the Candy Corn mocktail resembles one of Halloween’s most iconic candies. Don’t let the name fool you — there’s nothing sickeningly sweet about this non-alcoholic option. Using Athletic Brewing’s Hazy IPA as a base, this delicious concoction features cinnamon demerara, pineapple, lemon, egg white and Angostura bitters. You can also try the Espresso But Better, a cold brew mocktail with ginger, demerara and cream. 39 E. 13th St., Over-the-Rhine, homemakersbar.com.

Nation Kitchen & Bar 

If you’re looking for a breezy thirst quencher (to pair with an award-winning burger), Nation Kitchen & Bar’s staff sling up a non-alcoholic option from Paulaner Brauerei München. For $7, the Paulaner Weizen-Radler combines “the great taste of Paulaner Hefe-Weizen with natural effervescent lemonade in a non-alcoholic alternative for refreshingly fruity yet malty taste,” reads the brewery description. You’ll taste notes of lime, orange, and lemon. 1200 Broadway St., Pendleton; 3435 Epworth Ave., Westwood, nationkitchenandbar.com. 

click to enlarge Jane’s Mocktail Mule - PHOTO: KARA DRISCOLL
Photo: Kara Driscoll
Jane’s Mocktail Mule

Jane’s at Findlay Market 

With live music and the bustle of busy shoppers creating the ideal weekend atmosphere, Jane’s at Findlay Market is your next go-to outdoor bar to grab a mocktail this month. Try Jane’s Mocktail Mule, which features hints of ginger, honey, and lime. For $8, it’s topped off with Queen City Hemp Lemon Lavender CBD Seltzer and a splash of soda water. Ask the friendly bartenders to whip up something special, and they’ll slide over a one-of-a-kind drink like passion fruit seltzer with strawberry, mint, grapefruit, lime juice and brown sugar. 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, findlaymarket.org/janes

Overlook Lodge 

Overlook Lodge in Pleasant Ridge offers signature mocktails and a rotating list of non-alcoholic beers on their menu. Choose from a variety of sweet options including the Pantry Tea, a housemade apple berry sweet tea, or the Lucid Lemonade, with fresh lemon juice, mint simple and sparkling water. You can also try the Frostbite, a house limeade with grape soda. Prices vary. 6083 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, thatshiningbar.com.

BrewDog 

BrewDog is the master of non-alcoholic beers. The brewery has six different non-alcoholic beer options, including the popular Hazy AF non-alcoholic IPA. You can order a pint or try a flight of them at BrewDog Cincinnati in Pendleton. For those who are really on a health kick, you can pair your drink with one of their vegan and plant-based food options like the Beyond Meat Burger or Sweet Potato Burger. 316 Reading Road, Pendleton, brewdog.com.

Non-alcoholic beers and cocktails might not be the right fit for individuals struggling with alcohol dependence or addiction. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can help. SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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