Bars are a social scene, a chance to connect with friends, and overall, a big part of Chicago nightlife. Drinking also plays into it. So, what happens when you’re sober?
Cristina Torres was dealing with just that dilemma when she decided to create a place herself. She is currently raising money to fund Bendición Dry Bar where customers will find an alcohol-free venue and more so, an open community center that disregards the notion of having to drink in order to have a fun time. The online fundraiser has a $15,000 goal and recently surpassed it with over $15,445 raised so far. Yet, there’s still more to do– meeting the goal doesn’t mean Torres can open her bar. She will most likely need even more funding and probably an investor.
The dry bar is named in honor of Torres immigrant grandparents and what they said to Torres as she left the house each day. Bendición, or blessing in Spanish, is a commonly used expression in Puerto Rico, yet the name also honors her own sobriety. As Torres navigates this new norm, she’s determined to open a non-alcoholic space for people going through the same thing. The dry bar will be a safe and exciting environment where people can enjoy mock-tails, be present, and come together for “dance parties, date nights, have community classes, host recovery meetings and create those deeper connections we all need and crave — without the expectation or societal pressure to include alcohol,” the fundraiser homepage reads. Yes, it’s a sober bar but it’s also a space to hang out with community center-driven events like art classes, game nights and more.
Right now, Bendición Dry Bar is hosting Saturday popups at The Native. Partners for the popup events include Hop Wrt, Ghia, Three Spirit and more. They hope to secure their very own space through this fundraiser and Torres, who is Mexican and Puerto Rican, ideally wants to open the bar on the West Side, somewhere like Pilsen.
[Featured photo from Bendición Dry Bar]