No Booze? No Problem: Mocktails in West Michigan

Whether you’ve been sober your whole life or are giving Dry January a shot, you’re probably on the hunt for a good mocktail.

No one wants to miss out on socializing just because their friends are going out for a drink (a common occurrence around here), but the good news is, non-alcoholic beverage options are on the rise. We don’t just mean Diet Coke and O’Doul’s either—you can find quality craft beers with 0.5% ABV or less all over, from IPAs to stouts and wheats.

While N/A brews are a nice and easy solution, more and more establishments are putting serious time and thought into their mocktail menus. Whether they use alcohol-free spirits (an exciting recent trend) or just a tasty mix of homemade simple syrups and juices, they give you the flavor and experience of a cocktail without the buzz. 

So, here are just a few of the best spots for your next alcohol-free outing:

The Friesian Gastro Pub
720 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids

Right there on the medical mile lies The Friesian and its lovely rooftop patio. With a large cocktail menu, it only makes sense for them to invest in mocktails as well. Consider the Cherry Apple Tonic, with apple dandelion tonic (wow!), Luxardo cherry simple, vanilla simple, and a cherry on top. It’s both refreshing and comforting, ideal for winter evenings out with friends.

Chartreuse Sisters
800 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

What began as a small home bakery cottage business is now a lovely pastry shop on Wealthy, with an innovative menu of non-alcoholic drinks. A favorite of customers and Dale Cooper alike is The Owls Are Not What They Seem, made with orange sec, ginger beer, cranberry juice, and maple syrup, garnished with a spear of cranberries and crystallized ginger. It’s perfect for brightening your day this winter season.

Buffalo Traders Lounge
950 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids

Buffalo Traders is hailed far and wide as one of the best cocktail bars in West Michigan, and they don’t leave out the sober folks. Their mocktails range from the simple Mock Mule (lime, simple, ginger beer) to the bitter Better Spritz (N/A aperitif and soda) to the Zero Proof Dealer’s Choice, where you simply tell the bartender what flavors you enjoy and they whip something up just for you. Ask and you shall receive.

ROAM by San Chez
250 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

ROAM has a menu that’s traveled the globe and returned to broaden Grand Rapids’ horizons. Their horchata pairs perfectly with any Latin flavors, or you can go for the Rosemary-Elderflower Spritzer, made with herbal syrup, lemon, soda and butterfly pea tea. Or, try a handcrafted Italian cream soda with rotating flavors! It’s like you’re down at the local mom and pop soda fountain.

Butcher’s Union
438 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids

My personal favorite cocktails around are at Butcher’s Union, so I more than trust them to craft a great mocktail. Here, you don’t get a menu of premade drinks, but rather let your server know what you like and the bartender will make it happen for just $4. Reviews online attest to the consistent quality here. Of course, you can always browse the cocktails for inspiration—there are plenty to choose from!

The Winchester
648 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

Known for thoughtful seasonal drinks, The Winchester makes no exception with mocktails. For instance, the fall lineup included Ugg Season, with pumpkin puree, cinnamon simple, lemon and soda. Or try The Afterlife, with basil-infused simple, grapefruit, lime and soda.

Stamped Robin
128 Portage St., Kalamazoo

One of the stars of Kalamazoo’s cocktail scene, Stamped Robin offers multiple sober drinks, such as the Unintended, with cranberry, lime, vanilla and NA orange bitters. Or try the cleverly named No Fashioned, which keeps things simple but bold with NA dark cane spirit, aromatic bitters and demerara sugar. They like to make drinks bitter but bright here.

Traveler’s Café & Pub
5225 Portage Rd, Portage

A barbecue joint just outside an airport may not seem like the place to find mocktails, but we love to be surprised. Traveler’s has a wide menu of zero-proof drinks and liquor, so you can order off the menu or ask for your own favorite. Consider the Mai Tai, with NA white cane spirit, dark cane spirit, orange sec, fresh lime and house-made simple—welcome to paradise.

More Or Less 
434 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids 

What was once Alt City Beverage in the Downtown Market is now More Or Less, on Leonard Street, but they’re following the same ethos, serving up well over 400 alternative options to alcohol. They have canned craft mocktails, zero-proof spirits, botanical seltzers, gourmet sodas, adaptogenic drinks, CBD seltzers, NA wines and more! With More Or Less in town, you’ll never be parched.