We all know that bars are more than just a liquor store with tables. Bars serve an important cultural function: they are a place to meet other people in a fairly neutral space. Whether it's old pals or a new friend you'll make that night, bars are a great facilitator of social interaction. It's a place where you can simply exist without having to do too much besides chat it up or soak it in.

But here's a newsflash: sober people like meeting friends, too. And while other types of social engagement can fill the void, they generally come with prerequisites or are weirdly formal. I'm looking at you game groups.

So what's the best solution? For many, it's simply having options at the bar for something fun to drink and something fun to do. Many Lubbock bars could be better at this, and I can think of one that's setting a great example.


Flipper's Tavern (1406 Ave Q) has an extensive (and delicious) mocktail menu and several non-alcoholic beer options. Sure, any place can give you soda and lime (and generally will for free) but that isn't the most exciting thing in the world. Variety is the spice of life, right? Additionally, Flippers has a chef-curated menu that further pushes your palette into adventure.

Flippers Tavern also has a built-in activity to help break the ice when alcohol isn't lubricating a social situation- they have an excellent variety of pinball machines to take turns at with your date or group of friends.

Honestly any Lubbock bar can and should do this. Mocktails use the same ingredients as cocktails, and an place beyond the simplest hole-in-the-wall can provide an activity- be it games, trivia, live music or (insert your creative idea here). The key part is that its also an attitude- is the bartender going to scoff at me when I ask for a non-alcoholic drink? Will I feel welcome by the staff? If so, I'll likely go there again. And yes, I tip just as well on a mocktail as a cocktail but this time I won't forget to tab out.

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