Hope Coalition Executive Director Julie Honeycutt (center), with partners Katie Jenkins (left), and Karie Martin.
Asheville is known as “Beer City,” and it wears its moniker proudly, boasting more breweries per capita than any other city in America. If beer and bars aren’t your thing, though, or if you’re looking to explore alcohol-free beverage options, then there’s a new place in Hendersonville that deserves a visit. The Buzz is a sober bar & café brought about by Hope Coalition, a local nonprofit that supports substance use prevention, education, advocacy, and recovery services. According to Suzanne English, community outreach and development coordinator for Hope Coalition, “The Buzz is part of the sober-curious movement.” “We are Beer City, USA,” she laughs. But I think people want something else.” A lot of people who were isolated during COVID came out of it wanting to re-evaluate their relationship with alcohol, she explains. “We aren’t saying you shouldn’t drink at all; just be aware of addiction. We just want you to be safe and know you don’t have to always drink.”
The Buzz offers a safe, non-triggering environment and is completely free of alcohol. A mixologist has been retained to make fancy cocktails that you’d find at any posh bar or restaurant, minus the booze. They’ve partnered with Sharewell Coffee and Mini Batch Bakery making this a one-stop-shop for delicious food, mocktails, and caffeinated (or decaf) drinks.
“When you walk in our bar/cafe, you’re enveloped by bright yellow walls, comfy seating and can enjoy the beverage of your choice,” English explains. “It has a nice feel to it. And there’s a stage for live performances. We’re thinking of hosting poetry nights, trivia nights…it’s everything you might see at a nice Asheville bar.”
The Buzz boasts indoor and outdoor seating, with Home Depot donating, assembling and installing the latter. Some of the employees are from the workforce development program, she notes. The Buzz's workforce development program will help folks who have been in recovery gain the necessary skills and experience to rejoin the workforce. “This will help people who are recovering, who really want to turn their life around and get their feet back beneath them.”
The sober bar is a sustainability program for Hope Coalition, is located close to town, and near the upcoming Ecusta Trail. It’s accessible by foot, car or bicycle. Proceeds from The Buzz will directly support programs that provide prevention education from alcohol and substance misuse, as well as recovery support for those seeking services at Hope Coalition.
25 South Grove Street, Hendersonville