Sober bar concept pours into Tulsa on Sept 22

OklahomaEventsHealthCommunity EntertainmentFood
Collaborator: Jessica Penn
Published: 09/14/2023, 6:07 PM

(TULSA, Okla.) As alcoholism increases within the white, Native American, female, and older demographics, thought leaders like Jeff Thompson are focused on solutions in Tulsa. 

Data shows the Covid-19 pandemic and self-isolation exacerbated alcohol consumption. A study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism shows consumption increased 39 percent from February to November 2020, with a 30 percent rise in binge drinking.

After losing his friend, a local chef and restaurateur, to alcoholism in 2019, Thompson set out to create safer community spaces and alternatives to the traditional bar scene, while not skimping on the atmosphere. 

“I’ve been sober for 21 years, and I’ve loved bars since I was old enough to visit,” Thompson said. “There is a vibrant energy that I think is essential, but it can be a minefield of temptation for newly sober or not-yet-sober individuals. Now with things like Dry January, and Sober October, people are experimenting with this lifestyle, so it seems like an idea whose time has come.” 

Bolstered by the Builders + Backers Idea Accelerator, Straight Edge Lounge Sober Speakeasy is a pop-up experience that not only offers Instagram worthy mocktails, alcohol-free beers, other traditional and exotic beverages and lite food accompaniments, but also yoga, meditation, and counseling sessions. 

“Although we take our name from the Straight-Edge movement that grew out of the DC punk scene in the early 80’s, we are not advocating that people need to change behavior before they see a personal need to do so,” Thompson said. “Many people can consume alcohol in moderation and have a very wholesome relationship to that substance. Some people, like me and a bunch of my friends, don’t have that kind of relationship so abstinence is the best path for us.” 

The concept will premiere in Tulsa on September 22 during the Straight-Edge Sober Lounge Speakeasy’s Pop-Up Launch Party, taking place at Foolish Things Coffee Company on South Main Street from 6 to 10 PM.  

Thompson said the support for their concept has been encouraging thus far. 

“Miranda Kaiser donated all of her tables, chairs and light fixtures from Laffa when that restaurant closed in 2022, the community has really stepped up, national brands of ready to drink mocktails have offered to sponsor,” Thompson said. “It’s just thrilling and a little scary.” 

And being a part of their cause isn’t just good for self, Thompson said. Some of the proceeds from their first event will also go toward the Sangha House Men’s Recovery Community. 

“I know the executive director, Marcus Abernathy, and he was an initial collaborator as the idea was taking shape in 2019,” Thompson said. “We have a shared vision for the need for this type of venue in Tulsa.” 

Above all else, Thompson said, they hope their venue will be an inclusive, non-pretentious environment that does not push for sobriety as a way of life, but rather offers a dynamic non-alcoholic alternative for people who want one.

Want to be a part of the scene? Tickets to the Straight-Edge Lounge Launch Party range from $0 to $86 and can be purchased here


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