Sobriety seems to be having a moment in pop culture currently, and pop-up sober bars in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are arising to meet it. The name seems to be a bit of a misnomer as a number of the establishments serve a variety of both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Proprietors and bartenders alike take pride in their wide variety of “mocktails,” i.e., mixed drinks with no alcohol.

People have varied reasons for choosing not to drink or cutting down on alcohol. Some are in recovery, others are pregnant and still others are becoming more health-conscious. Even people who are not alcoholics may develop drinking habits that are unhealthy for them, and excess drinking has both personal and societal negative effects. People who recognize these effects may wish to cut down on alcohol intake or eliminate it altogether.

Nevertheless, the choice not to drink can be isolating. If one typically frequents drinking establishments to socialize with friends, one may feel forced into a false dilemma between staying home alone or meeting up with friends and drinking. Sober bars work to create a third option in which groups of people can gather socially without feeling that drinking alcohol is a prerequisite. One proprietor expressed a wish to create a community in which nondrinkers can feel included.

Sober bars are a relatively new innovation, only coming to prominence within the last year or two. Therefore, there appears to be no data available as to whether the rise of sober bars has had any impact, whether positive or negative, on drunk driving in the vicinity, e.g., the incidence of crashes, arrests or fatalities. However, statistics indicate a one-third decrease in drunk driving deaths nationwide over the past three decades, which is no doubt due to a variety of factors. Another survey tracking alcohol trends across 150 countries demonstrates that more than half of American consumers are trying to cut down on alcohol.

It is unclear at this point whether drinking alcohol will become less socially acceptable over time, but in the meanwhile, an individual facing DUI charges may benefit from consulting an attorney.