How to have fun in Brooklyn as a sober millennial

They wouldn’t be able to flail nearly as freely if they were holding beers. Photo via Daybreaker / Facebook

Trying to scrape a living together by working several jobs, keeping up with friends and attempting to find a little time for ourselves can lead us to live functionally alcoholic lives. Thursday, as we all know, is the real start to the weekend and getting trashed with your squad on Friday is the norm. We make no apologies for it. We are over-worked and underpaid millennials and we need to let off steam. But as we find ourselves crawling to yet another Sunday brunch, raging hangover in full swing, we might start to hear people say phrases like “booze fast” or “dry month” and they may even start to sound appealing.

After drinking like the British fish that I am for the last ten years, (I’ve probably put the children of the Bombay Sapphire gin empire through college with my love of G&Ts at this point) I have of late, taken a more sober approach to my NYC life.  I decided to stop drinking four months ago to see how my life would shake down. This began my journey into sober living in Brooklyn.

Initially I became a complete hermit. This had its benefits, I finally started writing that book I’d been talking about for years, but on the other hand I found myself isolated from my friends and my old haunts. Sundays suddenly became many hours longer than they had been previously. I woke up early and had energy and enthusiasm, but no place to put it. All of my friends were still sleeping off their hangovers by the time I’d had breakfast, read the paper and written an article. It was, dare I say, boring.

I was sober, but instead of binge drinking on the weekends, I was binge-watching Netflix and eating pizza like a champ instead. Not exactly the Eat Pray Love dream I’d envisioned for my sober self. No woman is an island I soon realized and so decided I needed to get out of the apartment and find some fun things to do before I became all Grey Gardens (minus the Hamptons location).

Here are some of the fun activities you can enjoy that do not result in waking up drooling in a Bushwick warehouse. Whether you fancy a break from alcohol or simply want to supplement your drinking time with other fun pursuits. Check out this list and let me know if you have other suggestions for our readers to explore soberly.

1. Daybreaker rager (various locations)


Daybreaker is an early morning alcohol-free dance rave/party. The morning starts at 6am with a one hour yoga and fitness experience and then participants dance with “reckless abandon for two hours before work”.  The founders developed the idea upon five principals: mindfulness, wellness, mischief, self-expression and camaraderie. Included in the ticket price are performances and coffee, juices and breakfast treats. An amazing way to start the day.

2. Artery (various locations)


Artery is a new online platform that connects performers in need of performance spaces, with people who are willing to host them. Artery can transform any space into a performance venue, be it a laundromat, park or even your own living room. As you can be the host, you decide if you wish to serve alcohol or not. Truly a unique and original experience.

3. Royal Palms Shuffleboard (514 Union St., Gowanus)

Photo by: Shaul Schwarz
Photo by: Shaul Schwarz

The Royal Palms is a 21+ Shuffleboard Club located in Gowanus. Think Florida shuffleboard fun, but with Brooklyn DJs, food trucks and board games too. It costs $40 an hour to play and everybody gets a complimentary lesson. They offer non-alcoholic beverages in their packages as well as boozier options. Good wholesome fun.

4. Smart Party NYC (various locations)

photo courtesy of Smart Party NYC
photo courtesy of Smart Party NYC

The Smart Party is the original alcohol free meetup group. The group offers events for those committed to an alcohol free lifestyle. They gather to participate in social activities such as parties, dances, and meeting in cafes, tea salons, yoga and dance studios.  They are quick to point out that this is not a sobriety or recovery group, but open to all adults over 21 who don’t require liquid drugs in order to enjoy life. Their goal is to provide society with an exciting, upbeat alternative to the bar scene.

5. Take a Circus Class at The Muse (350 Moffat St., Bushwick)

photo courtesy of The Muse
photo courtesy of The Muse

The Muse NYC is Brooklyn’s premiere circus school and let’s face it, you can’t do this drunk! More than just a school, the Muse is a community of artists creating contemporary circus. They offer classes daily, from beginner to advanced levels in silks, trapeze, lyra, acro-yoga, wall running, bungee and more. I recently started attending classes here and have found my strength increase dramatically. This is not an activity I could have managed on my hungover days!

6. Join A Community Garden (various locations)

Photo by Tami Johnson
Photo by Tami Johnson

There are over 600 community gardens in NYC and it’s a way to beautify a community, improve your diet, get some exercise, connect to the environment and save money on grocery bills, all at the same time. As Spring approaches, now is the ideal time to get your hands dirty and breathe in the fresh air. A friend of mine’s been using his local garden for years now and has a wonderful new group of older lady friends who’ve been teaching him Spanish. They all share fruits and recipes. What will grow for you? Find your nearest garden here.

7. Body By Brooklyn Spa (275 Park Ave., Clinton Hill)

Photo courtesy of Body By Brooklyn Facebook Page
Photo courtesy of Body By Brooklyn Facebook Page

Treat yourself. When you stop drinking, you may find that you are now confronted with feelings or memories you have been trying to suppress. Drinking is a great crutch when you want to forget or feel better about something. Without it, you might feel a little emotionally raw. Do something kind for yourself and enjoy a day at this fabulous spa in Clinton Hill. Body by Brooklyn offers: Swedish Sauna, Russian Sauna, Turkish Bath, Hot Tub, Cold Plunge Pool and Power Showers all for $45. You can also book treatments such as massage, aromatherapy and mud wraps.

Have fun soberistas! If we missed anything you’d like to add, write us in the comments.

I don’t mean this to be preachy, but it’s worth saying that if you feel you have a problem with alcohol you can find help here at any time.


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