If your date night ideas begin and end with drinks, dinner, and a movie, it can be hard to imagine other options. These booze-free date ideas will open your mind!
“Let’s meet for drinks” is a common go-to for first dates or a nightcap on the way home while in a long-term relationship. These activities serve as seemingly effortless ways to get to know one another or unwind after a long day. While there’s nothing wrong with effortless, especially while living through a global pandemic, let’s explore some nuanced ways that we can be more intentional with how we spend time with others.
Dry Dating is becoming almost as ubiquitous as Dry January. Folks all over the globe are gravitating toward a more mindful way of life. As the world grows more mindful and as that mindfulness intersects with sober curiosity, I’ve received a surge of requests for booze-free date ideas in my email and DMs.
Any date can technically be a sober date as long as you don’t drink, but here’s a list of some tried and true, think-outside-the-box ideas. These activities can be a new go-to for first dates as well as opportunities for reconnection for long-term couples.
Coffee and a Walk
There’s no need to sit in a coffee shop, anxiously sipping that iced coffee and tapping your foot as your date approaches. Instead, try incorporating some movement into that hang-out! Movement allows us to properly place our anxious energy instead of just tap-tap-tapping it out of our feet. Try getting your drink to-go, and then going for a walk through the park. Getting out of the coffee shop might just help you get out of your head, too.
I recently took an online pasta-making class through AirBnB Experiences. An adorable grandmother and granddaughter in Italy taught us how to make pasta from scratch—no pasta machine required! It was technically a team-building exercise for work, but I realized how cool this experience could be for a date or a unique way to catch up with a loved one. Plus, once the event is over, you’ll have the shared experience of eating the pasta together even when you’re separated by distance. In the wake of international lockdowns and quarantines, there are more options for online classes available now than ever before.
Museum or Botanical Garden
Tired of sitting across from a date while eating dinner? Try observing something external like art in a museum or flowers in a botanical garden. This can create a fun, light way to connect one on one. This activity can also be a unique way to bond over a shared affinity for a piece of artwork or botanical instead of bonding over something heavy like the 24-hour news cycle or doom scrolling.
Netflix N Chill
Snuggling on the couch while watching a movie or TV show is a classic date for a reason: It’s comfortable, low-key, and requires little effort. These reasons may make this date option better for long-term relationships or for spending time with someone you’re already comfortable being around, rather than for a first date. Order some take-out and veg out together. There are also tons of NA drinks to sip on, bringing some festivity to a relaxed occasion. Bonus points if there’s a fur baby to get cozy with!
Try a Booze-Free Nightcap
I never thought I’d live to see the phrase “Booze-Free Bar,” but it’s here and growing! Check out these lists of booze-free bars and bottleshops to see if there’s one in your area. Even if there are no brick-and-mortar spots near you, more liquor stores and grocery stores now carry diverse non-alcoholic (NA) options. And many drinks are available to purchase online. NA drinks aren’t just NA versions of the classics (though that’s a thing, too!). The thriving NA drink scene offers yummy, unique drinks that just happen to be alcohol-free! Grab some cans of NA rosé, a case of CBD drinks, or a bottled botanical.
Take Yourself On a Hot Date
Regardless of your relationship status, remember that dating yourself is essential! You can’t show up for someone else romantically, sexually, or physically, if you’re not taking care of yourself first. Dating yourself can look like signing up for that writing workshop you’ve been eyeing or taking a pottery class. It can be more low-key, like going on a daily walk while listening to your favorite recovery podcast or trying a new adult toy (????). The time you spend getting to know yourself can also strengthen your interpersonal relationships.
It’s important to keep in mind that dating while in recovery should only happen when you feel 100% ready to get back out there. The same concept goes for established relationships. Only incorporate new ideas and adventures when everyone involved feels ready to do so. And when all else fails, remember to take it one date at a time.