COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Two Columbus natives have opened the city’s very first sober bar, providing a space where people could enjoy a fun atmosphere without the pressure of alcohol.
It’s an endeavor inspired by their own sobriety.
There are dozens of bars across Columbus, but none quite like The Dry Mill, located on South Fourth Street. The bar officially opened Saturday.
“You can get non-alcoholic beers,” said The Dry Mill co-owner David Payne. “There’s non-alcoholic rum, tequila, whiskey, vodka…”
Payne runs the bar alongside his best friend Colin Thomas, who inspired him to get sober several years ago.
“He said, ‘You know, I need some help, I need to get sober as well,’ and we did it together, man,” Thomas said.
Thomas said that while on their journey to sobriety, they wanted to come up with a way to give back to the community.
“We kicked around a couple of different ideas, and then David was doing some research, poking around, and he found where these were popping up all over the country,” he said.
Sober bars were just about everywhere else, but not in Columbus, so after gathering enough staff and resources, the duo opened The Dry Mill, and it’s already making quite an impact.
“There’s this sober curious trend, which is starting to make sobriety look fun, and you should have fun in sobriety. I’ve had more fun sober than drunk,” said Daniel Henderson, founder of RecoverWisely, a non-profit that supports those in recovery.
Henderson said it’s places like The Dry Mill that help inspire sobriety within the community, and it’s that response that Thomas and Payne said makes the endeavor worthwhile.
“Just talking to a bunch of people who’ve come in who are sober, and they’re excited that there’s a place they can go to, and they don’t have to worry about being pressured by alcohol or have alcohol around them, we’re just super excited we could provide a space like that,” Payne said.
The owner said several of the employees at The Dry Mill are also in recovery, which they said is all part of their mission to help people become and remain sober.