Binge Bar won’t open until early 2021, but owner Vergie “Gigi” Arandid already has a tagline: “Come as you are and leave as you are because there’s no alcohol involved.” Her booze-free bar will be located on the basement level of 506 H St. NE, below Waxing The City. Customers can look forward to poetry readings, karaoke nights, and the occasional speed-dating event. Barred In DC spotted signage earlier this week.

Arandid, who moved to D.C. from the Philippines in 2002, previously worked in the hotel industry. “When COVID-19 happened and I got furloughed, I was like, ‘I need to do something for me,’” she says. She stopped drinking alcohol three years ago and sought to open a business that matched her lifestyle. 

The idea came to her on a flight to the Dominican Republic when she reached into the seat back in front of her and pulled out a magazine with an article about Sans Bar in Austin, Texas. Its founder, Chris Marshall, has organized alcohol-free pop-ups in several cities across the U.S., including D.C. In her research, Arandid also came across Getaway Bar in Brooklyn, which doesn’t pour anything with proof. “It’s a growing industry,” she says. 

Binge Bar will serve an array of drinks like juices and non-alcoholic beer paired with light bites. There isn’t a full kitchen on premises. “I’m all about plants,” Arandid says. “I told the architect and interior designers that I want to be able to grow garnishes and herbs in house. That’ll add into the vibe.”

Arandid’s goal is for all her customers to feel welcome, even those who arrive skeptical of the concept of a booze-free bar. “I want to expand people’s thoughts on non-alcoholic drinks,” she says. “I want people to paint their own experience when they come here.” 

Filled with tables and chairs, Binge Bar can seat up to 50 people. But when they clear the floor for special events, the capacity increases to 100. She’s tapped artistChris Pyrate to enliven the space with colorful murals. “My goal is to be able to offer something new and fresh once everything is back to a new normal,” Arandid says. 

Binge Bar, 506 H St. NE; instagram.com/bingebar_hst/

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