Five House rules for socialising sober this October
Believe it or not, it’s easy to have fun when you’re not drinking, as Tom M Ford explains
Monday 3 October 2022 By Tom M Ford
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably used alcohol to liven up your downtime since the age of about 14, but there is another way. We can reveal a secret, life-affirming formula that scientists and industry experts are calling ‘simply not drinking for a bit’. And what better time than Sober October [gosober.org.uk/] 2022 to give this witchcraft a try? You’ll be in good company – the non-alcoholic drinks market has grown over 506% since 2015.
We all know the benefits. An abstemious period is the best skincare hack in the world, and it can do wonders for our relationships. But if you’re often in your cups, going dry can be a scary proposition. So, below, we’ve served up some Soho House-approved tips on how to skip the alcohol, but still have a ball. Please abstain responsibly.
1. Choose your guests wisely
Weirdly, drinking one and a half bottles of whatever wine is second down on the menu can do all sorts of queer things to our judgement. An acquaintance as charming as Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley can suddenly lose all his allure in the cold, hard light of an alcohol-free hang. So, stick to your Real Ones on your membership this month. Forget the guy who wore sunglasses for the entirety of that stag do, and the ex-work colleague who replies to all your Instagram Stories with fire emojis, but you’ve never uttered a word to IRL. It’s all about inviting those friends you can comfortably share the lift journey in total silence with.
2. Avoid the dance floor
Two decades of pouring a psychoactive depressant into your system has told you you can move like Prince. You can’t. Excel spreadsheets, getting the last bit of toothpaste out of the tube – your real talents lie elsewhere. This is totally fine. Celebrate and practice acceptance by sticking to seated areas, or perhaps standing at the bar. You can tap your foot here, if you really must, and order a drink* while you’re at it.
*With some caveats. (No, that’s not pintxos. See below).
3. Enjoy a drink
Time was when not drinking meant sulking in a corner with the words ‘designated driver’ on your forehead while clutching a brown estimation of Coca Cola, provenance unknown. But now, the market has very much caught up with the rapacious 0.0% tastes of Gen Z and beyond. At Soho House, going sober means drinking everything from kombucha and non-alcoholic Martinis to any number of reassuringly expensive alcohol-free beers (which taste disconcertingly like the real thing.) Look like you’re here to party. Tap out of feeling like you’ve contracted a tropical disease the next day.
4. Don’t be a bore
You have decided to forgo the drink for an infinitesimally small fraction of your time on this earth. Well done. But remember: you are not saving lives. You’re not being sponsored for a harrowing feat. You do not need a medal, a balloon, nor even a pat on the back. So, please, stop going on about it. The pride and gratitude you rightfully feel for making healthier choices will be immediately neutralised when your friends abandon you for starting every sentence, ‘Well, as you know, I’m not drinking at the moment, so…’ What’s more, you are not some kind of Seedlip-funded Mormon, so don’t try and convert anyone. Each to their own.
5. Other activities are available
Well-worn neural pathways lead us to bars and restaurants when we want to spend quality time with our friends. There is nothing wrong with this, but feel free to take this rare opportunity to spread your wings and appreciate other facilities and activities when socialising this month. You could take a pal for a swim. Or head to a screening room and catch a film. Or activate your inner children at the bowling alley. If you want to get really creative, you could always hit up the sauna. After all, getting to know someone on an intimate level is all about being vulnerable and exposing our authentic selves. So to speak…