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St. Louis' First Alcohol-Free Pop-up

Friday, March 1st, the Wellness Council and 300 St. Louisans made history, and we had a ton of fun while doing so.

The Wellness Council connected with Chris Marshall, owner and founder of Sans Bar in Austin, Texas. We loved his vision and threw around some ideas and he informed us that he was embarking on a National Tour and would love to have one of his stops in St. Louis, MO. We didn’t hesitate to say, YES, LET’S DO IT!

We worked really hard for months prior and our vision seemed impossible to some, but we believed we could do it and forged ahead. We knew that despite stereotypes of St. Louis being a “drinking” city those drinks could be AF. We said from the beginning that a ton of people would be there and all of you exceeded our expectations when just over 300 people walked through the doors of Third Degree Glass Factory.

There was a moment at, let’s say, 6:59 when I stopped and looked around and I can only tell you how surreal the moment felt. We were elevating the AF scene and in about 60 seconds it would be go time. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all of you. You fulfilled a dream that I have had for years.

The coolest part about the night was that it seemed like any other ‘night out’ minus a few things that no one enjoys – we have all experienced them, so no need to take a walk down memory lane. The music – amazing; the glass - beautiful; the venue – gorgeous; but the coolest part was that people were having fun, mingling, talking, making friends and more! But wait, what about that age-old question, ”If you don’t drink what do you do for fun?” (insert eye rolling emoji). The answer is simply, “we have fun and fun we had.” If anyone ever has doubts, send them our way and we can reassure them.

I am forgetting the star of the show, the drinks! Oh, the drinks. Chris did a wonderful job coming up with the drinks and executing them just so. They were AWESOME! The line, at times, was long and it was amazing how people waited in line and were fine with doing so. With over 15 years in the hospitality industry, this stressed me out, but after the event, it dawned on me that this was actually awesome. Everyone waited in line for a hand-crafted AF drink. Not a soda, sugary virgin daiquiri, or seltzer with lime. This was the first place that one could look at the drink menu and every option was an option. No one had to worry about the accidental drink with booze, ordering a special drink, disclosing a personal choice, or having to whisper that you aren’t drinking or to make the drink look like a drink – you would be surprised at the number of people who do this. The only reason to hesitate before ordering was to figure out what to try next.

How cool is that?

I think we should all be proud of our city – we are the largest Sans Bar event to date and one of the largest specifically AF events in the country – with a few music festivals surpassing us.

Our sponsors, volunteers, the Wellness Council NCADA staff & board, Chris Marshall, and all who attended made this possible. People seemed to meet us on this path as if it were planned. Seriously. It was freaky in a good way.

There are no words to express our gratitude.

Thank you all for making this fun AF. We look forward to future Sans Bar events….


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