Sober Sesh

Sober nights: is it possible to enjoy a night out in Cardiff without alcohol? Source: Stefan Schweihofer (via Wikimedia Commons)

By Tirion Davies

As we head into February, and January (the month which feels like it may never end) finally comes to a close, it’s interesting to see what the rest of the year has in store.

For many, January was a time to take part in dry-January – where many attempted to remain alcohol-free for the month. Some may even be continuing this alcohol ban well into the rest of the year. The younger generation is drinking significantly less these days, and many are choosing to forgo alcohol in order to monitor what they put in their bodies. For some, sober nights out are commonplace. With over an estimated 213 pubs in Cardiff, and as a city who has notably appeared on the news when it comes to discussing wild nights out, is there really a way of having a sober night out in Cardiff?

The answer is yes. Although Cardiff is known for its nightlife and numerous clubs, there’s still plenty to do in the Welsh capital when you either can’t or don’t want to drink alcohol. Cardiff is a city which has a vast culture. There are plenty of theatres across the capital to keep people entertained. Between the New Theatre and St. David’s Hall, to the Sherman Theatre, Chapter Arts and Tramshed, and most notably The Millennium Centre, there’s plenty of live theatre to peak your fancy.

Additionally, it’s always worth checking out Cardiff Bay’s Glee Club if you’re looking for some live comedy – you could even get up yourself and perform some stand-up.

Obviously, Cardiff is known for its music and sometimes it can be nice to visit gigs and actually remember the night. Gigs are commonplace around Cardiff, as music is at the heart of the city – there are plenty of venues who offer live music events throughout the year. But gigs can definitely be enjoyed sober. Somewhere like Café Jazz is a great place to enjoy food, jazz and blues music for a chilled night out where alcohol doesn’t need to be involved.

Porter’s Cardiff is a coffee shop by day and a hub of entertainment by night. Whether you drink alcohol or not, Porter’s has plenty to offer throughout the week. The venue is busy each night, with one night dedicated to a quiz night, another night an open mic, another night a comedy den and many more events  taking place across the week. Porter’s is the kind of venue where there’s no need for alcohol to enjoy yourself.

But what about those who want to go clubbing sober? Is there room for a non-alcoholic night out in Cardiff clubs?

Of course.

Many find the best thing about nights out is the atmosphere. In which case, there’s not always the need for alchohol to keep spirits high.

A non-alcoholic pub was opened in Dublin last year, where the owner had noted that many of the guests at the opening night felt tipsy on the atmosphere alone. It seems as long as you’re surrounded by friends and you’re having a good time, you can get drunk on the atmosphere without consuming any drink. It’s possible to go for a night out in Cardiff without getting drunk and still have fun. You can still dance and sing your heart out, you’re just not doing it with alcohol in your bloodstream.

Clubs don’t exclusively sell alcohol. It isn’t as though you’ll walk in to Pryzm and they’ll refuse to sell you a glass of lemonade. Club nights out can be fun sober – the music is the same and there’s no hangover keeping you bed-ridden the next day. There’s still the chance to have fun with your friends on a Friday night, but it means the weekend’s not a complete write-off and you can still get some work done.

The downside to a sober night out? The people.

Many students who don’t drink on nights out find they don’t get tend to get annoyed by their friends who are drinking when they remain respectful of their decision not to drink. Although, many who remain sober on nights out do agree things become annoying when their drunk friends change from being fun and bubbly to thinking the sober one in the group is their babysitter. There is still this belief to an extent that the sober one must look after their drunk friends, but many argue that as a students at university, students should take responsibility of themselves on nights where they’ve been drinking.

More and more bars are offering a variety of mocktails, and it’s becoming far more common to enjoy a night out without alcohol.

To learn more about Porter’s Cardiff: http://www.porterscardiff.com/about-porters/

To learn more about Cafe Jazz: http://www.cafejazzcardiff.com/history.html

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