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Have Millennials Ruined Drinking With Their Sober Happy Hours?

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on February 01, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Your next cocktail hour might feature a kale-wheatgrass smoothie rather than a Manhattan. That is, if the latest Millennial trend takes hold: the sober happy hour. Youths these days are adding some good, clean fun to their socializing and we can see it making its way into the legal industry sooner or later.

Is the sober happy hour the worst thing ever invented or could this be a welcome addition to our booze-soaked trade?

Get Ready to Shine?

To be fair, we've yet to see a firm offer a booze-free mixer and law schools still regularly host "bar reviews" and tuition-funded happy hours. FindLaw even has a "drink-by-drink guide to success at legal networking events." So don't worry, drinkers, no one is taking away your booze just yet.

But there's something sober percolating up in the general zeitgeist -- at least according to The New York Times' style section. A recent article highlights the rise of sober happy hours in Los Angeles, New York, London, and, soon, even Las Vegas.

The new, drinkless mixers include things like "Shine," an L.A. import to N.Y.C. that includes vegan snacks, "enlightertainment," and meditation. It was started, in part, by a man named Light. A night at Shine comes with "a disproportionate number of tall, willowy women with flawless skin and a blasé, 'I-just-have-more-fun-without-it' attitude toward alcohol" and "really great water, from Australia," according to the Times.

This is not satire.

Australian Water Beats a Drunken Stupor

Events like Shine in NYC may seem a little too New Age for many lawyers. But many of the participants -- Millennials and non-Millennials alike -- were driven to booze-free events not because of their affinity for Vegan snacks, but because they'd gotten tired of seeing their colleagues regularly drinking themselves into a miserably stupor.

Take this account by a Shine attendee, former advertising professional Jennifer Ekeleme:

Booze was always flowing, people would just get hammered and start talking about how unhappy they are. It was getting too hard to justify the toll alcohol was taking on my body, wallet and spirit.

Sound familiar?

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