Zilch Market: A non-alcoholic, pop-up bar in Atlanta

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Savannah Rainey (left) and Lissa Eubanks (right) are the co-owners of Zilch Market and Bar. (Courtesy of Zilch Market and Bar)

What if there were a place to enjoy a non-alcoholic beverage in a fun environment? We live in a society that often focuses on social gatherings around alcohol, whether getting some beers at a brewery, a brunch outing, happy hour or meeting for evening cocktails at a bar. Zilch Market and Bar provides this safe space for non-drinkers with many non-alcoholic offerings. The creators of this pop-up experience, Lissa Eubanks and Savannah Rainey, joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to talk about how their new venture can allow the sober to enjoy an evening out without compromise.

Rainey, who’s three years sober now, said, “I stopped drinking because I obviously came to the realization, when I was 25, that I was an alcoholic … Even though I was young, I realized that my mental and physical and emotional health was just suffering from using alcohol, and it was just the best decision for me at the time.” Eubanks recently hit her one-year mark, having quit drinking after realizing “it was not doing me any favors.”

The two friends met after working together at a restaurant and bonded over their shared lifestyle adjustments. “When I stopped drinking, the first thing I noticed was that all of my drink options and restaurants just kind of went away,” said Eubanks. “Savannah and I started talking, and we wanted to provide a way to still have that atmosphere, the social setting, and trying fun new beverages without alcohol.”

Zilch specifically aims to maintain the pleasure of trying well-crafted cocktails and attests that a “mocktail” absolutely isn’t “just juice;” Rainey and Eubanks curate and craft all their non-alcoholic cocktails with love and attention to detail. Another myth worth busting, according to Rainey, is “that you’re boring or you can’t have fun.” She added, “I am 10 times more fun now than when I was drinking.”

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Zilch Market and Bar offers a multitude of non-alcoholic spirits. (Courtesy of Zilch Market)

Among the offerings at Zilch is a non-alcoholic whiskey by Monday Spirits and other spirit alternatives by Ritual. Georgia’s only non-alcoholic beer brewery, Rightside Brewing, contributes its wares to the spread. These beverages can also be bought to take home, but the pop-up also invites patrons to try a whole menu of original cocktails crafted by the Zilch team, often based on classics like the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan.

“The reception has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Rainey. “We’ve had people coming up to us at our pop-ups and thanking us for doing what we’re doing. They can’t wait to come to our next one, and at our first one that we did at Chrome Yellow, we sold out of our cocktails within like two-and-a-half hours. It was total insanity.” 

Zilch Market and Bar pops up next at Taproom Coffee in Kirkwood on April 8, with a boozeless bar and bottle shop. More on this and other opportunities to try Zilch can be found at zilchmarketatl.com.