Entrepreneur events should focus less on alcohol, and more on connections, said Melissa Saubers.
“Part of my goal is to help educate and bring awareness to people who are hosting events — and also have alcohol in the workplace — to help them be more sensitive and inclusive for people who don’t drink,” said Saubers, owner of Cowork Waldo. “That’s as simple as making sure that at an event or in your workplace, you have really thoughtful options for people who don’t drink.”
After quitting drinking alcohol two years ago, the fear for losing community in the process is prompting Saubers to bring the “Sans Bar” concept to Kansas City, she said.
Sans Bar was founded in Austin, Texas, by Chris Marshall to serve fun, non-alcoholic beverages in a bar-like environment for those unable or who do not wish to drink, she said.
“I have since learned that I didn’t lose my friends. I actually gained more new friends,” said Saubers. “I’m not uncomfortable around alcohol — I can go to bars and social events — but what I have learned is that our society is really is geared toward people who drink alcohol and so one of my goals is to create community around people who do not want to drink, for whatever reason.”
Sans Bar will pop up across the greater KC area in the coming months as Saubers tests the market, she said, with the first event on New Year’s Eve at Hagoyah Hair Studio & Yoga Den in Waldo.
“Community is a really important thing. When you decide to do something that most of the world doesn’t — you’re going against the grain and you need support,” said Saubers. “I came to realize alcohol is a drug and I know that’s not a very popular stance, but it truly is a drug and I just decided not to consume that drug anymore.”
The decision to remove alcohol came from a place of self-renewal, she said, not a rock bottom.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but once I removed the alcohol from my life, then things started to clear up and I was able to cope with life and with ups and downs better,” said Saubers. “You just have more energy and more clarity, and I have just found that it was just removing [alcohol] that opened up a bunch of new opportunities for me. Things just started taking off from there.”
“You don’t have to hit rock bottom to decide to stop drinking. You can stop at any time, for any reason,” she added.