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4 options for alcohol-free activities in Milwaukee and beyond

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Nate Imig/Radio Milwaukee
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Milwaukee’s drinking culture and history as “Beer Capital of the World” is well documented. After all, Brew City is its most common nickname.

An annual report ranked the Milwaukee metro area the 14th-drunkest city in the U.S. in 2022, rising – or stumbling, depending on how you look at it – from the No. 17 spot in 2020, joining the likes of Racine, Sheboygan and No. 1 Appleton. The study found that 25.4% of Milwaukeeans engage in “binge or heavy drinking,” up from 23.3% two years ago. And with bars and breweries in every neighborhood, sometimes within feet of each other, residents and visitors have plenty of options to wet their whistle.

But what about those who choose not to drink? Uniquely Milwaukee last week discussed the city’s sober living community with three individuals who shared their alcohol experiences and the various reasons they no longer partake in bar culture. Dozens more chimed in on social media showing support.

And while there are plenty of sober activities in general anyone could do (exercise, a trip to the movies, etc.), there are few dry gatherings that cater to a sober crowd. 

Here’s a list of alcohol-free activities in the Milwaukee area:

The Daily Bird

While there are dozens of alcohol-free coffee shops and cafés throughout Southeast Wisconsin, The Daily Bird stands out in more ways than one. Its yellow-painted design inside and out makes it hard to miss even in the vibrant Riverwest neighborhood, and the walls feature words of encouragement for patrons. Owner Dan Zwart, a recovering addict himself, serves up a selection from Anodyne Coffee and food provided by HoneyBear Baked Goods.

Go: 818 E Center St., Milwaukee

The Phoenix Active Recovery

Sure, you could go for a jog by yourself on the Oak Leaf Trail or watch a pre-recorded yoga video at home. But The Phoenix offers a community for those in recovery to get active together. This national organization has a Wisconsin branch and features an array of classes in the Milwaukee area, including crossfit, yoga, indoor rock climbing, basketball, bike rides and more.

Alano Club of Waukesha

The Alano Club of Waukesha is one of several in the area helping those in recovery. Aside from including free daily meetings such as AA, NA and Al-Anon, this club provides members with a space to hang out with TVs and a pool table. Similar recovery clubs in the area include Alano Club Milwaukee, Twelve Step Club, Friendship Club, Pass It On Club, How To Club and Lake Area Club.

Go: 318 W Broadway, Waukesha

Inmoxicated

Would you believe that of all the bars in Milwaukee, none are completely alcohol-free? Inmoxicated opened in Racine in December 2021 to fill some of that void. The dry bar offers craft sodas, alcohol-free wines, beers, mixers and ready-to-drink mocktails, plus tasting events every Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Go: 329 Main St., Racine

Digital Marketing Manager | Radio Milwaukee