Sunday, 09 Nov 2014

Sober: The latest party craze

When you think of going out, you normally associate it with drinking. Whether its dinner with friends, or a night out on the town, alcohol is usually involved. In many ways, alcohol has become synonymous with socialising and having a good time.

But there's a new party craze that aims to flip that notion on its head. It's just started in the Scandinavian country of Sweden. It's a new nightclub and it's called Sober.

What makes Sober so different?

Well, rather than paying an admission fee or checking your coat in at the front door before entering, people coming in do something else. They take a breathalyser test. The same type of test that roadside police do when checking for drunk drivers.

The entry requirement for Sober is, as its name suggests, sobriety. Total sobriety. As in, people need to record a breathalyser reading of 0.00 in order to be able to enter the club.

Sober only serves mocktails (drinks that resemble cocktails, minus the alcohol), as well as soft drinks and water.

The club is still in its infancy, but its already generating positive word of mouth. The founder of Sober, Mårten Andersson says the club attracts three categories of people - those of all ages who are curious to try out something new and different, people who may have experienced alcohol and drug-related abuse issues in the past and are looking for a 'safe' environment to go out in, and a group Andersson labels "yogis" - people into yoga, meditation, and other spiritual pursuits.

But is a night out on the town, in a club that doesn't serve any alcohol, actually fun? Two party goers, interviewed on Slate, give it the thumbs up.

Khaled is in his mid 30's and says “The use of alcohol is such a strong norm in our society today that if you don’t drink, people find it provocative somehow. Here, I can have fun and party without being forced to drink and without getting weird looks for turning down alcohol."

“Partying here doesn't feel that different,” Moa (also in his 30s) says. “People are happy, they’re dancing, and they’re drinking—it’s just that there’s no alcohol involved.”

Venues around Sweden are cottoning on to the trend and trying out 'booze-free' nights or events. Whether this trend takes off or not remains to be seen. But it is an interesting concept, and perhaps some day, one we will see make its way to Australia!

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