Last November, Billy and Christy Wynne opened Awake, an alcohol-free “liquor” store/coffee shop/sober bar. (The sober bar element won’t open until spring when weather and capacity restrictions are more favorable.) It’s a concept the Wynnes feel is much-needed: a spot where anyone in the neighborhood will feel welcome, especially if they’re exploring or are committed to sobriety. “We had discussions with other alcohol-free bars across the country, and they recommended we have a more diverse revenue stream,” Billy says of the hybrid beverage and retail model. “Some sober bars failed trying to do too much, too soon. It was too niche and the market didn’t materialize.”
The Wynnes hope the public will show up for their shelves lined with alcohol-free beers, wines, and spirits. Previously, the only places with a good selection of these types of products were (facepalm) liquor stores. The couple is especially excited to open the zero-proof bar come spring. The menu will be filled with “things that feel like traditional alcoholic beverages,” Billy says. “We’re a bar, and we want to offer bar-like drinks and have people feel the tastes and experiences they’d have at a bar, minus the alcohol.”
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