Going Out

How to Embrace a Great Booze-Free Night Out

By Swingers

Here's how to have a great sober night out in Britain, from finding your new favourite mocktail to mastering the French exit.

How to Embrace a Great Booze-Free Night Out

Traditionally, Britain has been notorious for its drinking culture. Heading to the pub for a pint has long been established as an after-work ritual, and tequila-fuelled club nights are considered a university rite of passage. However, we are starting to see a significant shift in attitudes towards drinking – and with that, the increasing popularity of the dry night out.

While Millennials began to embrace sobriety with the rise of Dry January, Gen Z are largely responsible for spearheading the trend of the sober lifestyle all year round. In 2021, UCL researchers found that over 91% of young adults had decreased their drinking over the past year. SoberTok — the TikTok sub-genre where creators share their tips for sobriety and non-alcoholic recipes – has proven an inclusive, candid place for the sober-curious to learn more. And the alcohol-free drinks market has grown by more than 500% since 2015, becoming worth over $11 billion in 2022. 

The alcohol-free movement continues to gain momentum, driven by a strong focus on improving wellbeing, relieving financial pressures and celebrating diverse cultural backgrounds. Whether booze is off the menu for good or you simply want to take a more moderate approach to drinking, it’s more socially acceptable than ever to have a great sober night out! Here’s how to do just that.

Get in the mood

A girl with earbuds dances in front of a poster-covered wall.

To start, replace pre-drinks with your own sober night out ritual. Choose an upbeat playlist, pour a glass of your favourite alcohol-free drink and enjoy putting some effort into your look for the night! This is also a great opportunity to get into a positive mindset for the evening ahead. If you have a little extra time, you could try going for a walk, having a hot bath, calling a close friend or even a guided meditation. 

Choose your company carefully

Three girls in head scarfs smile for a selfie in front of a white brick wall.

As the sober-curious lifestyle has become more popular, peer pressure to drink has become less common. That said, we’ve all experienced that colleague or friend tipsily having a go at you for turning down a shot.

In that vein, opt for sober nights out with friends you trust – at least until you’re confident shutting down Brian from accounts when he’s half-cut. Sober nights out are a great chance to have a laugh and make memories you’ll actually remember the next day! You can avoid awkward moments at the bar by telling your pals you won’t be drinking before you head out. It also helps preempt the suggestion to “split the bill” at the end of the night.

Curate your night out

A girl in a black top dances in a bar with smoke and purple lights.

Once you take the booze out of the equation, clubbing becomes all about the music. Don’t let your mates pressure you into going on a night out you’d need a drink to get through. Hate techno? Love cheesy pop? Use this as your excuse to find a line-up you actually like the look of and enjoy letting loose to your favourite tunes, safe in the knowledge that you’re much less likely to wipe out in the middle of the dance floor!

If the idea of walking into a club sober is too intimidating, don’t force yourself; there are plenty of ways to enjoy a sober night out. Try heading for a chilled dinner with friends, meeting up for an evening walk or getting a group together for a fun activity – for example, we hear crazy golf is always a good shout.

Find your new favourite go-to drink

A collection of mason jars filled with fruit-infused water.

Long gone are the days when your only non-alcoholic option was a lime and soda! From aromatic alcohol-free spirits to flavoursome zero-percent IPAs, both long-standing drinks brands and new contenders have brought out plenty of delicious options to tempt even the most committed drinker. You could even try saving one of your favourite drinks for nights out to make it feel special, whether that’s Diet Coke, kombucha or Seedlip and tonic.

If you’re heading to a restaurant or cocktail bar, check out their drinks menu online before you go to get excited about what’s on offer. If nothing inspires you once you get there, why not chat to the bar staff about what you like? Most bartenders will be happy to make recommendations or even create something special for you!

Remember your reasons

A young woman looks up in contemplation.

There’s nothing shameful about having a wobble, especially if you find yourself standing at the bar surrounded by friends merrily downing pints. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself; instead stay connected to the reasons you’re choosing to party sober. If you feel overwhelmed at any point, step outside for a quick break and take a few deep breaths. With each successful sober night out, your confidence will grow.

Finally, if it all becomes too much, don’t force yourself to stick around. One of the benefits of sobriety is that our minds and bodies will let us know when it’s time to head home to bed. You can always embrace the French exit if you feel awkward — if your companions have been drinking for a while, chances are they won’t even notice. Then, the next morning, make the most of your hangover-free day!

Looking for more fun (and not necessarily boozy) ideas to entertain yourself? Check out this list of the 10 best summer party ideas in London to try during the warmer months!

Swingers ~ The crazy golf club

We believe that life is more fun when there is an element of competition, and that competition is best enjoyed with friends.

Swingers, the crazy golf club takes the holy trinity that is crazy golf, street food and amazing cocktails and combines them all into one incredible social experience