“Drinking is so ingrained in our society. ‘Let’s grab a drink’ is our go-to way of connecting to others,” says Anna Garcia, who founded Juice Crawl in 2014. “[Cutting back on alcohol] is definitely a direction people are headed in. There are more [sober event] options now and people are more aware and health conscious.”
She’s right of course—for the majority of people alcohol is a crutch in social situations. It’s our friend whether we’re celebrating or commiserating, and more often than not when we’re just plain bored. Although drinking in moderation has been scientifically proven to improve health and even increase lifespan, limiting your intake is easier said than done.
When you make the decision to curb drinking or eliminate it completely, your social horizons tend to narrow by default, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In New York, taking an active interest in your health is the norm. There’s a yoga studio on every block, a free workout event every weekend, and if you know where to look—fun to be had sans booze as well.
Juice Crawl starts with an exercise class, followed by mingling at several juice shops where attendees sample 30—40 varieties of juice. The most recent crawl coincided with St Patrick’s Day—arguably the biggest event on any booze hound’s calendar. It sold out.
But Garcia is quick to note this isn’t about judgement. “Juice Crawl isn’t condemning drinking, it’s just a fun silly social event that gives people another option,” she explains. Her events attract a wide range of people for an equally wide range of reasons. “People come to get over their hangover from the night before. Some are on juice cleanses and want to hang with like-minded people. Some are sober and trying to find sober events. Of course we get hardcore juicers, but also those who are just interested to try something a bit different.”
Even if you’re not ready to give up your pinot grigio habit yet, Juice Crawl is a perfect example of the unique and unusual happenings this city spawns.