Making the most of pubs for Dry January

By Posted in Distractions

If you’re taking part in Dry January then it could be tempting to avoid all pubs, social gatherings, and life, to just hide under your bed for 31 days until it’s all over. But what if we told you it doesn’t have to be like that? 

Pubs are pretty good at remembering Dry January is a thing and utilising it now so, what with the Mindful Drinking Movement also gathering momentum, you’ll often find legitimately great alcohol-free drinks options at your local.

If you’re a pub reading this and thinking ‘we’ve got J20 and full-fat coke, everything’s fine’ – most people over the age of 12 don’t drink those things unless they’re hungover. There are some brilliant producers out there who are making delicious, innovative, non-sugary, adult-orientated alcohol-free drinks – if you want some ideas on what to add to your menu then our festival lineup is a good start, or drop us an email for some recommendations.

Choosing a pub

We’ll be launching our brand new Club Soda Guide in January, which is a comprehensive online guide listing all of the best pubs for mindful drinkers -however, in the meantime, you’ll need to suss out the location without us. Most pubs will list their menus online, and if not then a friendly phone call won’t do any harm. So – for Dry January-ers and pubs alike – these are the things that will put a pub at the top of our list for Dry January…

  1. The drinks. As already touched on, look for a pub that has decent alcohol-free drinks. If you’re new to mindful drinking then you might not know to look out for alcohol-free craft beers, spirits, and ciders – or kombucha, low-sugar sodas and tonics – but you should because they ARE a thing and they DO taste great! You can also look for non-alcoholic cocktails or interesting ranges of teas and coffees.
  2. Food. Eating is bloody lovely. Many people around the globe organise an evening out around the food, not the booze. But if you’re from the UK then you might think that ‘eating’s cheating’ – *insert facepalm emoji* – so forget everything you’ve ever learned about how to create a good day or night out and find a venue with good food.
  3. Seating. This is so important when you’re not drinking. It’s so weird how long we can stand up for when we’re boozing. Sitting down is a must, especially if you’re after a catch-up and some food with mates – so call ahead and reserve a space if you can.
  4. Games. Having something to do together is also a great way of taking the attention away from booze. Whether it’s a pub quiz, a pool table or some board games, it gives a new angle to the day or evening and you’ll remember that it is possible to laugh without being pissed. If your top pub pick doesn’t have any of this, then ask each person in your gang to bring a game with them (just try not to turn it into gambling session because you’ll probably get booted out).
  5. The environment and the staff. This is really hard to pre-research without falling into a deep dark Trip Advisor sinkhole, but if you have a tip-off from someone on a good pub with good bar staff (who don’t turn their noses up when you request an alcohol-free beverage), and the right atmosphere for you – then follow the advice.


A lot of people don’t realise that there’s a charity attached to Dry January, but there is (Alcohol Change UK) – and raising money for not drinking is not only a nice way to do a little good in the world – it’s a great way to add a bit of accountability into your sober month. It’s much harder to sack it off when people are sponsoring you not to sack it off.

PUBS: You can encourage people doing a charity challenge to come to your pub as part of their charity challenge and boost their Dry January fundraising.

DRY JANUARY-ERS: Organise a mindful pub crawl and charge your mates to come along.

You can organise a charity fundraiser by plotting the pub crawl route across your town or city using bars which are the best for people off the booze (see list above). Challenge your mates to join you being dry. It’s a great way to boost your Dry January fundraising – and it gives you something to do with all your hangover-free time.

PUBS: Tweet/Facebook/Instagram what you have on offer and suggest locals organise a mindful pubcrawl and include your venue. Put on some special offers to tempt them in. Tag Dry January and us so we can help you get the word out. 

You can even encourage customers to boost their Dry January fundraising by asking their mates to sponsor them for every time they visit the pub and stay dry. You can Tweet their efforts as proof!

DRY JANUARY-ERS: Tag us in the pics of your pub crawl and we’ll repost them. Use the hashtags #MindfulPubCrawl and #MindfulDrinking to let others see your pics and nick ideas from other pub crawls.

To tag us: @joinclubsoda on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook


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