Oh the sweet, sweet month of January. Said no one ever. It’s cold, it’s rainy, you’re broke, you’re dieting, you’re avoiding sugar, you’re doing Veganuary, you’ve quit caffeine, you’ve promised that you’ll stop saying “like”…and to top it off, you’re doing Dry January. Well, my friends, we’ve pulled together a pretty damn-fine list of things that you can do this month, making sure we incorporate ALL of the other resolutions.
If you’re on a fitness-kick then reducing or removing your alcohol intake is a great start, what with all the empty, sugary calories, inevitable visits to the kebab shop and the lack of motivation that boozing can bring. Check out these healthy activities to get you grooving your way into 2018, like Jean Claude Van Damme in that dancing scene from Kickboxer.
Have a go at indoor rock-climbing – our favourites are the Hackney Wick Boulder Project for £10 or the beautiful Castle Climbing Centre in Stoke Newington, where you can mix in some yoga. Better Fitness also have climbing locations all over the UK. Workout with The Hard Yard, they recruit fitness instructors who have spent time in prison to choreograph and conduct their no-equipment fitness classes – a great initiative which creates the opportunity for ex-offenders wanting to rebuild their lives AND it’s the best way to ensure you get an incredible workout – try their Friday night Dry-January class. If you missed Xylem & Phloem London’s Yoga, Brunch and Wreath-making workshop in December then make sure you book onto one of their Yoga, Brunch and Hand-Tie Bouquet workshops coming up this month (first one on Saturday 14th January) – it’s such a great January fit that it ticks the box of every single category in this article!
Finding other ways to be mindful really helps when changing your drinking habits. Try Real Remedies’ Chakra Shake Up on 13th January – starting with the ancient schematic, the Chakra System, to illuminate a path to higher awareness before letting loose on the dancefloor to carefully selected music and a great range of alcohol-free drinks. Ease yourself onto the path to wellbeing with a meditation class with a difference from Meditation Unlocked who run their first session of the year on 29th January – “No crystals, no mumbo jumbo” as they say themselves. It’s a great way to get started if you’re new to meditation, or if you’ve been put off classes that are a little on the spiritual side and it’s a great way to focus your mind to successfully achieve your goals – sign up for their mailing list for further events. Head to the Museum of Happiness on the 6th January for meditation, laughter yoga, gratitude bingo and learn how to manage stress and increase confidence. Sweat & Sound are hosting an incredible yoga and meditation evening, complete with live orchestra, at a secret venue in the city – “expect the unexpected as you’re transported into galaxies of colour and sounds of pure magic.” Does it get any more out-of-this-world than that? Probably not.
Just because you’re not drinking, it doesn’t mean your social life now has to be boring – plenty of non-drinkers still go out and enjoy themselves – and with the rising trend of mindful drinking, it’s actually officially “cool” to turn down booze at the bar. DrinkUp London is offering free Seedlip cocktails in various venues across London throughout January, simply fill out this form to claim yours. Nirvana Brewery and Strongroom Bar bar have teamed up to bring you the ultimate January night out – a tasting session of Nirvana’s entire range of alcohol-free beers with cheese pairings – including vegan cheeses – on 9th January. If beer isn’t your thing but food pairings definitely are, then head to Michelin-starred seafood restaurant Angler on 9th January when they team up with Seedlip, to create this brilliant pairing menu. Already hankering for a pub crawl? Well, you’re in luck! because we, Club Soda, have organised this Mindful Pub Crawl in association with Morning Gloryville and fuelled by Square Root London, on the 16th January around Tower Bridge – starting with a juicy little tasting session from the Hackney soda wizards themselves. It’s also our Queers without Beers 2018 launch night on 17th January, our new regular LGBTQ+ night in the heart of Bloomsbury at Syrup of Soot, where the alcohol-free drinks options are aplenty.
A really great way to avoid the hankerings for booze is to get creating. Try London Craft Club’s Brush Lettering workshop on 15th January, where you’ll learn the technique or brush lettering and take away your own framed artwork. The Good Life Centre has a great range of workshops throughout January from Woodwork & Carpentry and Furniture Restoration, to Home Interiors and Sewing. Try a ceramics and pottery class at Kite Studios, with classes for varying abilities through January and beyond. Or give life-drawing a go at one of the numerous classes across the city and the UK – such as Holborn Life Drawing’s untutored classes every Thursday.
If you’re not one of the people who frantically downloaded My Fitness Pal as soon as they awoke on Monday, then book yourself onto a Bread Ahead baking course at Borough Market (sign up to London Food Link for discount) including doughnut workshops, gluten-free bread making and pizza workshops – HELL YES. Fancy something fancy? The beautifully trendy restaurant, gallery and cocktail bar Sketch London has a mouth-watering range of alcohol-free cocktails, smoothies and juices whether you’re going for brunch, lunch or dinner – they even have an Alcohol-Free Bubbly Afternoon Tea featuring sparkling grape juices and Bellinis – just make sure you book. If you’re off the meat this month then make sure you check out Temple of Seitan just off Mare Street, the BEST vegan fried chicken in London – and make sure you try the mac ‘n’ cheese. If vegan is your thing but you’re leaving out the fried foods, then head to Vantra’s new premises on Wardour Street, where they serve up raw, delicious, incredibly healthy vegan food including gluten-free and non-refined sugar – with a great range of alcohol-free “vocktails” too.
Not in London? We know this list is very London-centric, as that’s where we have our ear to the ground, but you can use this as a way to spark ideas and Google similar options in your area.
The better you plan your days or nights out, the more likely you are to achieve the goal of not drinking – however long you intend not to drink for. Winging it can work for some, but you may end up “accidentally” reverting back to habit when stuck for ideas or when you’re on the spot at a pub/bar/restaurant. We’ve listed the best pubs and bars for low and no alcohol options on our Club Soda Guide, to help you out as best we can. YOU’VE GOT THIS.