Denver’s first sober bar begins pouring mocktails in Jefferson Park – The Denver Publish
In 2019, Christy and Billy Wynne from Denver were in France’s wine country, where they had fled to live with their two children for a year. In this unlikely place, they decided to stop drinking alcohol.
When they moved there was “a steady stream of visitors and the rosé flowed,” said Christy. However, as the visits wore off and the season changed, the couple carefully examined themselves and their marriage and came to similar conclusions.
“I was in the middle of life and I felt a little out of hand and I knew in the back of my mind that alcohol was the problem,” said Christy.
“I had to be honest with myself about my relationship with alcohol,” said Billy, who owns a consulting firm. “It was easy to see that it created a filter between me and my life.”
When you go
Awake is now open at 2240 N. Clay St. The bar is a daytime coffee shop and serves Queen City coffee and Aspen Baking Company pastries Monday through Wednesday from 6:30 am to 3:00 pm. Thursday to Sunday the shop is open in the mornings and also as a full bar at the following times of the day and evening: Thursday 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm; Friday 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
In addition to the sober drinks, there are small snacks, shared plates and “hand-made grilled cheese” on the menu. For more information, call 720-379-7665 or visit wakedenver.com (where you can also browse the bottle shop online).
Fast forward to 2021 and the Wynnes are back in Denver where they’ll open a bar together – sober.
First of its kind in Denver, Awake brings a non-alcoholic beer, wine, and cocktail destination to a city that prides itself on drinking local alcohol and leading an active, healthy lifestyle.
“It’s really about keeping the sophistication (bar culture) there,” Christy said of her goal for Awake. “It is really important to be able to participate in this (drinking) ritual in a subtle way, so you are not the person at the children’s table.”
Awake is a bright but data-worthy space with plenty of outdoor seating, a wall of windows that opens onto the terrace, and a lovely bar area where you can choose (and count) drinks from around 40 soft drinks and then enjoy them. .
The Wynnes sell well-known brands such as Seedlip distilled non-alcoholic spirits and Gruvis 0% beer and wines. But there is also a whole box of non-alcoholic spirits, beers and wines from all over the world to discover.
Bottles of non-alcoholic liquor will be on display at Awake on Thursday May 6th. In addition to drinks at the bar, Awake sells spirits directly through its bottle shop. (Rachel Woolf, Denver Post Special)
Some of their favorites are the aplós infused with citrus and CBD; Ghia French aperitif; herbaceous pentires, salted with sea salt, from the Cornish coast; and Monday Gin that drinks like a London Dry. Giesen’s non-alcoholic white wine from New Zealand smells and tastes just like her favorite Sauvignon Blanc, Christy said.
When they first returned from France and started looking for alternatives to alcohol in the US, there were very few options, the Wynnes agreed. But two years later, the couple can be picky about their choices as they stock the growing Awake bar and bottle shop.
“Competition is good because it forces everyone to have the best products,” said Christy.
“It feels like a noticeable trend,” added Billy.
The Honey Elixir Bar opened in the heart of the RiNo art district last year and serves as many non-alcoholic as alcoholic drinks. And Longmont’s Bootstrap Brewing recently started making a non-alcoholic IPA in addition to their regular beer range.
RELATED: A New Generation of Denver Bars Target a Different Audience: People Who Don’t Drink
While Awake is the first of Denver’s 2000 bars to open, it probably won’t be the last. But the Wynnes have a mission bigger than just riding the latest drinking trend – or not.
For her part, Christy has transitioned from a career as a certified medical assistant to sobriety and general coaching for women. And Awake is a way to move that work forward.
“This alcohol epidemic has really hit women,” said Christy. “(The alcohol industry) has made women believe that we need (alcohol) to be a mother, that we need it to get by, we need it at birthday parties, for socializing, everything.”
So she educates drinkers, and especially women, about the role that alcohol plays in liver disease, hormonal imbalances and cancer.
But at Awake, the mood is more upbeat, inclusive and with a focus on giving back. So if you’re not sober, sober-curious, or abstinent for a night, there’s another reason to visit: the bar donates 20% of its profits to a different charity every month.
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