Eating + Drinking

The Most Spirited Zero-Proof Cocktails Dominating NYC’s Drinking Scene

These alcohol-free libations are shaken, stirred, and straight-up delicious.

Photo courtesy of Listen Bar/Facebook

Being on designated-driver (or subway-companion) duty can be a drag, but chances are you’re not the only sober sipper in the bar. With the rise of wellness-oriented lifestyles and spirits-free bars like Greenpoint’s Getaway and NoHo’s Listen Bar, we’ve never been more sober curious than we are right now. Some of the city’s best mixologists and beverage gurus are proving that you don’t have to miss out on flavor and fun just because your glass isn’t filled with liquor. (And on the plus side, you won’t be nursing a tequila-triggered hangover the next day.) These are the zero-proof drinks we’re excited to savor.

Photo by Molly Tavoletti/Courtesy of Listen Bar

When you’re craving: A Negroni
Try: Dante’s Faux-groni

There’s no excuse not to sip something special inside the ninth best bar in the world. Mixologist Naren Young puts an inventive spin on all of the classics at this New York landmark, including its prominent signature drink, the Negroni. This nonalcoholic version abandons the juniper-heavy gin for a mix of Seedlip‘s Spice 94 (aromatic Jamaican allspice, cardamon, and two types of bark), reddish bitters, and orange oil. 79-81 MacDougal Street (between Bleecker and West Houston Streets), Greenwich Village

Photo courtesy of Dante

When you’re craving: A spritz
Try: Frenchette’s Saint Aneth

French bistro fare and an ambitious natural wine program may have won Riad Nasr, Lee Hanson, and company all kinds of accolades, but their cocktail program shouldn’t be slept on. Concocted by bar manager Sarah Morrissey, this spirits-free bubbler includes a combination you’d find more often in a tzatziki than a tippler (cucumber and dill), plus generous splashes of soda and freshly squeezed lemon to make your mouth pucker. 241 West Broadway (between White and Walker Streets), Tribeca

Photo courtesy of Frenchette

When you’re craving: A shrub
Try: Clay’s Orange Colored Sky

The farm-to-table movement is strong inside this Harlem gem. Paired nicely with its robust seasonal offerings is a drinks program, helmed by beverage director Andrea Needell Matteliano, that incorporates both skill and an exotic perspective. Her take on the shrub remains loaded with vinegar, but she subdues it with globe-trotting flavors like blood orange, cardamon, caraway, and ginger. 553 Manhattan Avenue (at West 123rd Street), Harlem

Photo by Anays Diaz/Courtesy of Clay

When you’re craving: A margarita
Try: Izzy Rose’s House Upstate

This accidentally vegan Mexican joint is quickly making waves in its new Brooklyn home, partially because its Technicolor drinks are both dreamy and damn delicious. In lieu of shaking up some tequila, the plant-based bar substitutes it with agave nectar for a mock margarita, then throws in fresh cucumber juice, tart lime juice, and crushed black pepper to complete the poppin’ package. 214 Greene Avenue, Clinton Hill

Photo courtesy of Izzy Rose

When you’re craving: An old-fashioned
Try: Existing Conditions’s Serendipity

If your lips are yearning for a final taste of the lazy, hazy rays that won’t find you knocked out on a hammock until the next morning, have Dave Arnold make you a drink. The former Booker & Dax mixologist has been stirring up some of Greenwich Village’s most ambitious cocktails since 2017, including this booze-free sipper that puts a tropical spin on the standard tumbler drink. The hard stuff may be gone (whiskey and bitters are replaced with clarified tomato and passion fruit), but the citrus twist still remains. 35 West 8th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), Greenwich Village

Photo by Michael Marquand/Courtesy of Existing Conditions

When you’re craving: A Bloody Mary
Try: Honeywell’s Monday Hooking

Sunday Funday may be the time to push your inhibitions to the wayside, but this funkadelic Hamilton Heights haunt ensures that you can have the same amount of fun every day of the week. The savory breakfast-y flavors you know and love remain—notes of olive juice, cracked pepper, and rosemary syrup are prominent with every gulp—but the sometimes-cloying tomato and Clamato are switched out for an earthy, sweet carrot juice. Groovy, baby! 3604 Broadway (between West 148th and 149th Streets), Hamilton Heights

Photo courtesy of Honeywell

Psst: We have other ways to treat yourself well without the next-day guilt on the app.