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May Wilkerson May Wilkerson

Stockholm Now Has a Totally Sober Nightclub

A stand-up comedian and former party animal has opened a club called "Sober," to show people "you can have a bloody great time" without drugs or booze.

3 Substance

Mårten Andersson is a Swedish stand-up comedian who thinks that ”Swedes need to wake up and stop glorifying booze in the way we do.” So he’s opened up a new nightclub in Stockholm called “Sober” and, as the name implies, it’s completely alcohol- and drug-free. They will enforce their “zero tolerance policy for any kind of intoxication” by breathalyzing everyone at the door. Those who arrive tipsy will be asked to take a walk around the block until they sober up; anyone busted with drugs or alcohol inside will be thrown out.

If this doesn’t sound like a fun night out, there is apparently a silver lining: “Life is too short for us to be wasted all the time,” Andersson tells Vice. ”I want to inspire people and show them that you can have a bloody great time without alcohol. I want to offer an alternative to just getting hammered.”

In addition to a new outlook on life, the club promises two dance floors (one playing pop and one electronic), “amazing DJs, virgin drinks made with love, and hopefully an exciting atmosphere.”

“It will be just like any club in Berlin, London, or Ibiza—minus the drunks,” says Andersson, a former party animal himself. He is now six months sober—and psyched about it: “My self-esteem has never been this high. I’m proud of myself in a way I’ve never been before.”

After feeling “shitty and anxious all the time,” he realized he needed to lay off drugs and alcohol when he was performing a solo stand-up show. “The show is about being true to yourself, so I really couldn’t stand on stage trying to inspire people with a good conscience if I just kept partying,” he says. He opened the club in order to “enlighten people.”

He hopes the club will attract “a weird but fantastic blend of different people” from all ages and backgrounds, including ”sober alcoholics, the curious crowd, club kids, and randoms.”

And he’s not in favor of a prohibitionist, “Just Say No” approach to drug and alcohol use—he just wants to expand people’s options. “I don’t want to tell people not to drink,” he says. “I just want to open people’s minds and get them to start reflecting on why they are drinking. Get high on life instead of substances or alcohol.”

Andersson explains that clubbing at Sober might bring a rude awakening for some people, who might “feel shitty when they realize how alcohol runs their lives.” And though he expects some will “just stand awkwardly on the side, without getting the courage to talk or dance with new people” at first, eventually “people will bring down their guard and feel comfortable enough to flirt.”

A bonus to a sober club? “There might be fewer cheesy one-liners and maybe even fewer one-night stands.” Bonus? Or downside?

You be the judge.