Sober parties exist — and they can even be fun!
Just because parties are often associated with drinking doesn’t mean they have to be. Some people don’t drink at all, some are in recovery, some are trying to drink less, and some just want a night off from alcohol.
Socializing can be more about the connections you create with everyone at the very fun sober party you throw.
Yes, you read that right. You can throw a sober party — where everyone is sober and no alcohol is served — and have a great time.
No matter your reason, you don’t need alcohol to party and have a good time. You don’t even need booze to host a get-together with delicious non-alcoholic drinks.
Let’s take a look at 9 party ideas and tips for the best sober party.
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1. Be Upfront About Alcohol
You definitely want to promote your sober party as the hottest ticket in town, but it’s essential to be honest about what that party will look like before guests arrive.
Consider sending out invitations via social media or the old-school way that explicitly states that alcohol won’t be served at the party. You can even invite friends to BYOM — Bring Your Own Mocktail — if you trust their taste in non-alcoholic drinks and the best alcohol substitutes.
Have conversations with friends you’re inviting to make sure they aren’t caught off guard by the lack of alcohol behind the bar. That can mean you aren’t inviting everyone you’d like to if you know they won’t be game for an alcohol-free evening.
Remind them that a sober party also means they’ll all wake up the next day without hangovers, an added bonus.
2. Invite the Right People
Hosting a sober party may mean your guest list is more selective than usual.
If you’re struggling with cutting back on alcohol yourself, or trying to be supportive to a sober friend doing the same, a solid guest list is that much more important.
You don’t want anyone known for peer pressuring others to drink at a sober party.
New friends you know who are sober will appreciate an invite, as will a group of friends who support your decision to host an alcohol-free night. That pregnant friend who has felt left out is likely also a safe bet and will appreciate pregnancy-safe beverages on hand.
You likely know who will love the idea of social gatherings without alcohol and who will disregard your wishes.
If you’re throwing a sober birthday party for a sober friend in alcohol recovery, it’s that much more important to make sure they’re getting the party they’re expecting. For instance, a sober birthday means that everyone is abstaining from alcohol, not just the birthday boy or girl.
The same goes for parties to celebrate sobriety, like a “one year sober” bash. Avoid inviting partygoers who aren’t 100% supportive of the guest of honor.
3. Creative Non-Alcoholic Drinks
What you drink at a sober party will depend somewhat on the guest list, any theme you have going on, and your own preferences. Generally, though, a sober party is where creative mocktails truly shine.
Use your amateur bartending skills to the fullest. Mix in fresh ingredients. Consider any dietary restrictions, like gluten sensitivities or dairy allergies, on top of alcohol-removed options.
Here are a few mocktails that sound absolutely delicious:
- Grape juice/non-alcoholic sparkling white wine + orange juice + lime + fresh fruit = non-alcoholic sangria
- Mint + sugar + water + berries + lime juice + seltzer/non-alcoholic sparkling rosé = a virgin mojito
- Iced tea + lemonade + a splash of grenadine = a blushing Arnold Palmer
There is an important note here if you’re inviting anyone who has struggled with alcohol addiction or spent time in an alcohol rehab program.
Drinks that closely mimic the real thing, like non-alcoholic beer or non-alcoholic spirits, may make those guests uncomfortable. Stick to festive beverages instead that are still fun and delicious and won’t jeopardize a recovery journey.
4. Amazing Food
A spread of delicious foods is an excellent way to get guests talking about how amazing your party is and distract from the lack of alcohol around. Have plenty of snacks on hand if you’re not serving up a full meal.
Think of easy finger foods like chips and dips, pigs in a blanket, and miniature versions of your favorites. It doesn't have to be that serious.
If your loved ones are foodies, consider making the party a potluck instead. Take advantage of their skills in the kitchen and have guests bring cravings-inducing treats to share.
They get bonus points if the food is on theme, if your sober party is sticking to a particular motif.
Here’s an odd fact: If you have any guests telling you they’re feeling drunk but haven’t been drinking, there’s something called auto-brewery syndrome that could be the culprit.
It’s a very rare gut fermentation condition where your body turns foods high in sugars or carbohydrates into alcohol.
It probably won’t happen at your sober party, but it’s one of those odd things that may be good to know at a trivia night.
5. Break the Ice
Plan ways for guests to get to know one another, especially if it’s a mixed group of friends who may not have met before. It’s about getting everyone in the party space in the mood to socialize and comfortable enough to interact without alcohol.
Planning a party on a theme is a way to naturally break the ice at an event without planning explicit ways to do so. That doesn’t have to mean you’re forcing guests to come in costume, although you certainly could if you’re planning a party for a playful bunch.
That can mean activities, foods, and drinks that all go along with a specific theme. Think fall fests or winter galas.
Here are a few more playful themes that may spice up your sober party:
- Remember When: Think about the age range of your invited guests and play up to their favorite eras. 80s-themed parties are always a hit.
- Ugly Sweaters: This one is popular during the winter holiday season, but we don’t have a problem with throwing an ugly sweater party no matter the time of year.
- Hollywood Glam: You don’t need to force everyone into tuxedos, but anything promoting a hint of celebrity sets the stage for bubbly mocktails and fancy canapés.
Check in with your friends throughout, especially those new to the sober lifestyle. They’ll appreciate the effort to keep them engaged.
Introduce friends to one another, especially those you know have common interests. Facilitate interactions as much as possible and, as much as feels natural, to keep conversations flowing.
6. Engaging Activities
What you do at a party without drinking can depend on the group you’ve invited. Consider planning fun activities during your sober party to get your friends active and engaged with what’s happening around them.
If your party is a daytime event with access to yard space, have friends bring yard games to your event, like a bean bag toss or giant Jenga tower. Consider portable beverages in that case, like canned 4-packs of non-alcoholic Brut wine.
If your party is going into the night, consider setting up a projector to play a movie in that outside space.
The adult party games of today are also quite a bit of fun, even if there’s no alcohol involved. You’ll just need to get through the rules first, which can get tricky when you’re dealing with a large group.
The point is, you can engage your brain in a more significant way if you’re a sober person engaging in these activities. After all, alcohol affects cognition, both in the short term at a party and in the long term.
For your friends in treatment programs or recovering from alcohol or drug addiction: Do your best to set your sober party apart from a typical boozy riot. It’s okay — and even preferred, probably — to have fun that isn’t just reminiscent of a tipsy night.
Here’s a secret: You can even sing karaoke sober. It’s a thing.
7. Right Time and Place
Consider timing when you’re planning your sober party. It can be easier for everyone to sign on with the idea if it’s happening in the middle of the day, as long as you have an exit strategy in mind.
What we mean by that is you don’t want a daytime party dragging on into the evening if that wasn’t your intention.
Consider where you’ll be throwing your sober party, too.
You don’t have to host a party at your home if you’re not comfortable with that. Take the party elsewhere, whether that’s a neighborhood park, a friend’s more spacious backyard, or an event space you’ve always wanted to try.
As you’re not including alcohol in your plans, you’ll likely have more options for locations than you would with a party serving beer and wine.
If you’re trying to keep things sober, make sure the location you choose doesn’t serve alcohol. The local bowling alley may sound like a great idea until guests start buying pitchers of beer at your sober party.
All of a sudden, you’ve let the party get away from you, potentially affecting relationships with those sober friends you invited and seeking ways for guests to sober up at a sober party. That’s not what you want.
8. Offer Choices
Offer options for your guests throughout your event. That can mean options when it comes to drinks, too. Everything doesn’t need to come in mocktail form.
What do you drink at a party when you're sober? Plain water, sodas, and even fun teas or juices are all appropriate for a sober party. Your wellness-inspired friends watching their wine calories may love a makeshift juice bar.
Focus on letting your guests decide what they’ll indulge in and what they’ll participate in. Introverts may not want to dive into that well-planned ice breaker game you planned out, and that’s fine, too.
Offering your guests options will boost their comfort level, making that sober party the success you know it can be.
9. Normalize the Sober Party
Try not to make the fact that your guests are at a sober party a big deal. Having a day or night without alcohol should be normalized, because that’s precisely what it is: normal.
Whether you’re fully on board with the sober life or just trying to get your friends together after a long absence, Surely is here for all of it.
We’re continually coming up with new products to keep the party going in a safe way.