Taking a Break From Drinking? Try These Dry January Activities in Greater Cincinnati

If you’re trying Dry January for the first time, it doesn’t mean your social life has to suffer.

click to enlarge Great Parks of Hamilton County offers a winter hiking series. - PHOTO: KARA DRISCOLL
Photo: Kara Driscoll
Great Parks of Hamilton County offers a winter hiking series.

If your liver is begging for a break after the excesses of the holidays and New Year's, you’re not alone. In fact, one in seven Americans will take a break from drinking alcohol in January, aka "Dry January."

“January is a good jumping-off point for people who are looking to make a change,” says Dr. Christian Gausvik, a primary care physician at The Christ Hospital.

Gausvik says in the short term, people who give up alcohol for even a month can notice a change in their sleep habits, clearer skin, fewer headaches, a better mood and better concentration. People may even lose a few pounds when they cut out calories from alcohol.

Gausvik also says excessive or long-term alcohol consumption can lead to numerous health issues including liver disease, several types of cancer, mental health problems and high blood pressure.

“I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a cancer that doesn't have some sort of tie to alcohol,” he says.

If you’re trying Dry January for the first time, it doesn’t mean your social life has to suffer. Here are four ways to make your weekends count this month:

Try a mocktail or an alcohol-free drink at some of Cincinnati’s best bars.

You don’t have to give up nightlife to stay sober this month. Plenty of the Queen City’s bustling bars will serve you surprisingly delicious non-alcoholic drinks all night. At HomeMakers Bar in Over-the-Rhine, order a glass of non-alcoholic sparkling riesling from Germany’s respected riesling producer, Leitz, or try one of their creative housemade mocktails. For a good nonalcoholic beer, try a Hazy AF non-alcoholic IPA at BrewDog in Pendleton, or MadTree Brewing's newly released Leave No Trace non-alcoholic beer (it's currently only available on tap).

Hit up Jungle Jim’s for a massive selection of alcohol-free drinks.

Spend hours browsing Jungle Jim’s massive selection of alcohol-free drinks. From Untitled Art’s nonalcoholic West Coast IPA to Fre Sparkling Brut, you won’t have any issues finding something fun to sip on this month. Head to the Italian Food section to pick up Giusto Sapore Italian Red Bitters to mix with your favorite sparkling water. Grab some fine cheeses on your way out and host a Dry January tasting party for your friends.

click to enlarge Axe-throwing is a fun experience-based bar activity. - PHOTO: MEGAN WADDEL
Photo: Megan Waddel
Axe-throwing is a fun experience-based bar activity.

Visit experience-based bars or try a new activity.

Shake up your weekend routine by throwing in some experience-based bars and new activities. Here are a few to put on your list:

  • Challenge your friends to a game of duckpin bowling at Pins Mechanical, which serves up nonalcoholic BrewDog beers along with mocktails.

  • Axes and alcohol really don’t mix. Spend a few hours hurling axes at Cincinnati Axe Throwing in West Chester. Axe Throwing sessions are run by trained experts who will show you how to safely handle an axe and chuck it with accuracy.

  • Concoct your own scented candle at Manitou Candle Co. This little candle shop tucked in Columbia Tusculum hosts public and private candle-making workshops where you can pick from hundreds of scents to make two of your own unique candles.

  • Level up your cooking skills with a class at Tablespoon Cooking Co. at Findlay Market. You can choose from classes that teach you to make everything from cinnamon rolls to gnocchi. With all the calories you’ll save from cutting out booze, you deserve to treat yourself a little.

Enjoy your mornings.

No hangovers, no problems. One of the best parts of your Dry January experience will be enjoying your early mornings again. Make the most of your Saturday by grabbing breakfast before heading to the Winter Hike Series hosted by Great Parks of Hamilton County. Hit the trails for challenging hikes, held at a different park each week. Hikes begin at 10 a.m. and finish up with a free bowl of soup. Pre-registration is required.


Non-alcoholic beers and cocktails might not be the right fit for individuals struggling with alcohol dependence or addiction. Individuals who drink a significant amount regularly should talk to their doctor before trying to give up alcohol completely. 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 Natio

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