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What's billed as LA's first zero-proof cocktail bar recently opened in Chinatown


With young Americans drinking less, more zero-proof or no-booze bars are popping up around the country. NPR's Iman Maani reports from Los Angeles.


IMAN MAANI, BYLINE: What's billed as LA's first zero-proof cocktail bar recently opened in Chinatown. Stay seems like a typical bar - until you check out the drink list. Instead of alcohol, you'll find things like tequila alternative and nonalcoholic wine.

NATALIE FERNANDEZ: If you are underage like us, this could be a good outlet to go to.

MAXINE MUSTER: I'm pregnant, so thought it would be a great idea to go get nonalcoholic drinks (laughter).

KAITLYN RYOU: Someone like me who also have health issues and I can't really drink alcohol - it's nice to, like, get that bar feeling.

MAANI: That's Natalie Fernandez, Maxine Muster and Kaitlyn Ryou. Only 62% of adults 34 and younger say they drink. That's down 10% from two decades ago, according to a Gallup report. And those who drink are doing so less frequently.

DUANE STANFORD: It's definitely a growing trend in the U.S. Consumers are paying more attention to their health, more attention to health and wellness. That doesn't always mean that they stop drinking altogether, but a lot of times, they are trying to moderate how much they drink.

MAANI: Duane Stanford is the editor and publisher of Beverage Digest. He says even though Gen Zers are drinking less, they still want to go to bars to socialize.

STANFORD: They're looking for opportunities to still have fun, still do something a little more special when it comes to what they're drinking in social situations.

MAANI: Summer Phoenix and Stacey Mann say that's why they opened Stay.

SUMMER PHOENIX: The zero-proof movement is this idea that you don't need alcohol to have a great time.

STACEY MANN: I grew up in New York as a club kid, going to clubs and, you know, drinking at a young age. And so my experience was that we need that to have fun as young people.

MAANI: Despite a growing demand for mocktails, Stanford says booze bars are here to stay. Mocktails can cost just as much or even more than a regular cocktail.

STANFORD: The price points are, I think, going to be one of the challenges. With any market like this, you're going to have those who figure out a way to still continue this as a niche.

MAANI: For now, Phoenix and Mann are confident the zero-proof movement will only keep growing.

MANN: We're having a difficult time getting our shelves stocked.

MAANI: Mann says zero-proof spirits sellers are having a hard time keeping up with demand. Meanwhile, she's getting questions from others interested in opening zero-proof bars.

Iman Maani, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF JAKUZZI'S "JAZZ HOP") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Iman Maani
Iman Maani is a production assistant on Morning Edition and Up First. She began her journalism career at Member station NCPR in Canton, New York. She has also worked on the political docu-series, Power Trip, that covered the midterm elections. Iman is a graduate from St. Lawrence University.