Imagine you’re all dolled up for the night, you’ve got your dancing shoes on, and your man looks like a dapper Dan. You’re ready to hit the club. First thing’s first—head straight to the bar. But what if your favorite local bar or club didn’t serve liquid courage? A Chicago-based sober bar opened its mocktail-serving doors to offer a safe-spot run by a substance-recovery service.
Located in Crystal Lake, a suburb of the windy city, The Other Side is all things bar—billiards, live music, a ping-pong table, a dance floor, hoards of people — just without the alcohol. The goal: To provide a healthy atmosphere for people choosing a sober lifestyle.
The founders of the bar — Chris Reed, a 22-year-old recovering heroin addict, and three of his friends also in recovery — aren’t running the bar as a standard business. In fact, they’re all keeping their day jobs. The Other Side is a part of New Directions Addiction Recovery Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Chicago residents through recovery, and money raised will go toward drug education and treatment initiatives. Patrons 17-years-old and up can hang out at the bar, which is open four nights a week (Thursdays through Sundays).
As odd as it sounds, a sober club really isn’t that strange at all (take, for example, straight edge culture, which promotes sobriety while still having a good time). When it comes down to it, it’s hard to come by a dry (and still fun) nightlife experience, especially one that’s trying to do good. It raises the question, what’s a bar without booze? Take our poll below to weigh in on the topic.