San Francisco

Sober Clubbing Movement Growing in San Francisco

For most people, Wednesday morning starts off with a nice breakfast, maybe a run at the park, or just a trip straight to work.

But for some in the Bay Area, there’s a fourth go-to now: clubbing.

“I started coming to this over the summer, probably five to six times,” said Michael Garcia, who lives in San Francisco. “When I did first hear about it, it was an instant, ‘Well, yeah, of course, I’m going to do that,' and as soon as I got in here I was like, ‘Well, of course, I’m going to do this every time it happens because it’s the most fun ever!’”

Garcia is talking about a new, growing trend called “conscious clubbing” – parties that happen once a month in the morning before people head to work. The parties are sober, featuring smoothies instead of shots of liquor, yoga and even free massages.

“These people put together such a tight, fun event that if you need alcohol or drugs, then you’re not doing the party right,” added Garcia.

McKenzie Brill founded the San Francisco chapter of Morning Gloryville, a group that hosts these sober morning parties all around the world, starting in London in 2013.

“San Francisco’s a city that celebrates diversity, and celebrates art and artistic expression,” Brill said. “That hits on all key points of this event. I knew there’d be an appetite for something like this, and San Francisco would eat it up.”

It’s $20 to get through the door for the four-hour party that lasts until 10:30 am. The idea is to rejuvenate before going into work.

“It’s nice to wake up in the morning and come to a sober dance party, instead of one that stays up all night long,” Juliana Cochnar said.

Kyra Joseph drove all the way from Santa Cruz to join the party.

“Everyone is so happy to be here. You don’t have to be on anything, some fresh juice and you’re good to go,” Joseph said. “Friends of friends are also coming from Santa Cruz just for the party. A couple of them actually drove back to Santa Cruz to go to work after.”

Sober clubbing isn’t new. Rob Novotny of San Francisco said he’s gone to one party in Sausalito for the greater part of the last decade. There’s one big difference: those are not on the weekdays.

“It sells out with 150 people, a little bigger than this,” said Novotny.

Morning Gloryville San Francisco has hosted the most recent parties at Inner Mission, a venue mostly used to host arts events. Brill said there can only be one or two more at the same place because the building has been sold, on the verge of condo development.

“We really hope to see places like this stay alive and continue to spread,” added Brill. “They’re homes to artists who otherwise done have sufficient space.”

Garcia agreed there needs to be more attention paid to the changing city. That’s why he says he’s here to do more than just dance.

“So I’m one of the tech nerds gentrifying the city, but I like to work really hard on not only coming to events like this, but producing weird art expos so I can push against the gentrification I do during the week.”

Once Garcia was ready to head out the door, he said he just has one goal for the rest of the day.

“I’m going to go take shower sit at my desk and pretend I'm a normal person!”

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