Seattle’s sober and sober-curious scene is steadily growing, and this month, fundraiser Damp & Dry July encourages bars and restaurants to include even more low- and no-alcohol drinks to benefit a worthy cause. So far, at least 31 participating establishments have created special nonalcoholic drink menus for July, with one dollar from every drink going to Peer Seattle, an organization that provides services for mental health, HIV and AIDS support, and more for the LGBTQ+ community.
Participating bars and restaurants include Capitol Hill spots La Dive, Liberty Bar, and Rumba and Inside Passage, as well as downtown’s Rob Roy, and White Center’s Lariat Bar. Twenty low- and zero-proof beverage brands are also partnering with Damp & Dry July, including the likes of Athletic Brewing Co., Buzzkill, Giffard, The Pathfinder, Wilderton, and Jøyus, a woman-owned nonalcoholic wine company based in Seattle. The fundraiser is already close to half its goal of $20,000.
“Sometimes when I pitch [Damp & Dry July] to people I call it ‘A Very Gay Fundraiser,’” said Molly Flynn, a sober influencer who is part of Damp & Dry July’s planning committee. “The majority of the committee members are queer.”
The fact that the fundraiser comes after Pride month has an added significance. “We feel there is so much to be done within our community — and in the country — for the queer community. This felt like a really important way to continue that essential work,” Flynn said.
Damp & Dry July’s core organizers include brand reps from Seattle-based the Pathfinder, and Oregon-based Wilderton, as well as Marceil Van Camp — co-owner of soon-to-be-opened bistro Kamp in Madison Valley, which features inclusive drinking options with plenty of low- and no-alcohol beverages. The committee also includes Kayleigh Blome, a bartender at Fremont’s Stampede Cocktail Club.
Some of Blome’s standout drinks at Stampede include the low-alcohol Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em with Cocchi Rosso, Lemon, Laphroaig Rinse, and nonalcoholic bourbon Spiritless Kentucky 74; and On Cloud 9 made with egg white, orange flower water, nonalcoholic gin New London Light, and bitters from zero-proof company All The Bitter.
Not everyone organizing Damp & Dry July is sober, but all support the idea of expanding options for those who are, those who are reducing their alcohol intake, or the sometimes-sober. It’s an idea that also resonates within the industry. Whether stemming from a pandemic-inspired focus on mental health and wellness, or Gen Z’s penchant for generally drinking less, many bars find that not having low- or no-alcohol options is simply “leaving money on the table,” Flynn observed.
“The most common response that we’ve gotten from everybody that we reached out to, and people who have organically reached out to us, has been they’re already working on or have some sort of nonalcoholic menu. This aligns with their goals for their business,” Flynn said.
For more destinations serving elaborate nonalcoholic drinks, check out our guide.