4

Sober Underground Brings Booze-Free Entertainment to Denver

Sober Underground hosts an array of events including concerts, open mics and standup comedy nights.EXPAND
Sober Underground hosts an array of events including concerts, open mics and standup comedy nights.
Sober Underground
^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Want to socialize without the booze? Sober Underground — with concerts, open mics, pool tables, darts, pizza, a stage and Austin Powers-inspired bubble swings — is a place built for you.

Opened in September 2020, the venue is the next step in son-and-mother-duo Chris and Mary Brewer’s mission to help out community members working to overcome alcoholism and addiction. The Brewers have been working with recovering alcoholics and addicts since 2004, both by providing sober housing and by starting New Beginnings Recovery Center, a nonprofit that provides housing and recovery programs.

Their mission started after an employee at the Brewers’ property management company developed a cocaine addiction. After helping him to get treatment, they learned of the challenges he faced in finding housing, and as property managers, they realized they had the means to help not only him but others. They designated their properties as sober housing and founded Mary’s Hope Sober Homes, a nonprofit with a faith-based element. Today those properties house 135 residents.

New Beginnings Recovery Center started a couple years later, in 2014, as the Brewers looked to expand their offerings to the recovery community.

However, despite offering housing and treatment programs, Chris Brewer wanted to do more to address the lack of sober social spaces. He was particularly inspired by an article about Spiritual Soldiers Coffee Compound in Ontario, Canada. The now-closed coffee shop and sober bar provided a way to make recovery fun, and Brewer wanted to bring that concept to Denver.

Sober Underground not only provides a sober space, but it also avoids any mention of alcohol that could trigger the desire for a drink, Brewer explains.

The venue was created as a fun space for people to congregate without needing to go to a bar.EXPAND
The venue was created as a fun space for people to congregate without needing to go to a bar.
Sober Underground

Sober Underground opened last fall — and while the plan was already in motion before the pandemic, COVID-19 brought added urgency to provide a sense of community for people in recovery.

“Isolation is not a good thing. We did push forward even though a lot of places were closing the doors,” Chris says. “We blew ours right open.”

Now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased, the venue is returning to full capacity, and word is spreading. Recently, a couple flew in from Boston to learn about their model, much the same as Chris had taken note of Spiritual Soldiers in Ontario.

“The sober community is truly amazing. People just started referring others to us,” Chris says. Already they’ve had attendees whose ages range from eighteen to seventy years old. The only requirement is sobriety.

The Brewers have hosted events such as Soda and Scribbles — a sober version of Wine With a Twist — and local comedy acts, along with Friday night music events that span pop, jazz, country and covers. A car-show fundraiser is planned for late July. In addition, the space has held Bible studies and AA meetings.

But the draw of Sober Underground isn’t just the events; it’s the space, the foosball tables, the snack bar, the stage and the community it hosts.

To learn more about Sober Underground and to stay up to date on its events, visit Facebook, Instagram or the Sober Underground website.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.