DC-area residents who are sober-curious are ‘interrogating their relationship to alcohol’

Binge Bar founder and owner Vergie "Gigi" Arandid. (WTOP/Michelle Goldchain)

Tired of dealing with hangovers and not knowing exactly what happened the night before, many are becoming “sober curious.” Now, a D.C. bar owner and an alcohol addiction expert in Virginia are extolling the benefits of the trend — offering advice on the best way to start during Alcohol Awareness Month this April.

“I think people are recognizing or interrogating their relationship to alcohol,” Shelly Young, executive director of the Chris Atwood Foundation, a recovery-based group in Fairfax, told WTOP.

Young said many people are realizing some of the benefits of lowering their alcohol consumption, even if they don’t have an acute issue.

“Your skin is going to improve, your sleep is going to improve, your brain health is going to improve,” she said. “Your whole physiology starts to improve because your body is not dependent on that particular substance.”

She said the social aspect of drinking is what’s often the hardest aspect to overcome. Young suggested trying outings that don’t revolve around cocktails.

“Try one of your regular socializing rituals alcohol-free,” Young said. “Just give it a shot and see how you feel. See how you feel throughout the rest of the week; see how your body feels.”

D.C.’s Binge Bar is a great place to start. Owner and founder Vergie “Gigi” Arandid is in recovery, as are many of her bar’s clients.

“I created Binge Bar hoping that I would essentially attract people in recovery to recover loudly and really embrace their journey and sort of have a community helping them. … It kind of just morphed into something else that I never really expected,” Arandid told WTOP. “Our tagline is, ‘Come as you are.'”

The bar specializes in elevated nonalcoholic cocktails.

“We have ‘Blackberry Breeze,’ which is what we’re featuring right now,” she said.

It also serves a hydrating cucumber margarita. Arandid told WTOP she has clients traveling from North Carolina; Wisconsin; Tysons, Virginia, and Gaithersburg, Maryland, just to check out the bar.

“It creates this atmosphere where we have opened up dialogues about anything and everything,” Arandid said. “And we’re able to assess ourselves and have a good time, at the same time, and just really enjoy the vibe.”

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Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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