Thursday, December 8, 2022


Today’s post feels like two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, The Loft: Wine, Liquor and Beer has finally opened in a second-floor location above Wegman’s.

Image credit: The Loft

On the other, tonight Sobar is hosting an alcohol-free Happy Hour at the newly reopened Georgia Grace on Main Street in Old Ellicott City.

Thursday, December 8th 6 pm - 8 pm
Georgia Grace Cafe on Main Street in Ellicott City

Free samples, zero alcohol holiday gifts, fabulous beverages, fun food and Hot Shots - peanut butter hot chocolate served with a mini peanut butter brownie!

Featuring Dan Cronin performing acoustic blues and ragtime.

Image credit: Sobar

Image credit: Georgia Grace Café

I haven’t been over to The Loft yet but I mean to soon.I had a chance to see the space when it was but a twinkling in its proprietor’s eye. 

That was back in 2018. I’ve written quite a few posts since then about the legal hurdles placed in front of The Loft’s Tom Quick from area businesses who did not want the competition that a new liquor store close by Wegman’s would bring. His persistence paid off, although all those appeals must have cost plenty. Columbia, Maryland has one more Mom & Pop business.

Now it’s December of 2022. The air is full of the messages of “holiday cheer”. For you that may mean stopping by The Loft to see what it’s like and stocking up on beverages for parties or family celebrations. It may feel all the more special if you weren’t able to get together in person very much over the last several years. Being able to offer guests a refreshing drink may be a part of what you see as being a good host. You probably already have a place where you make such purchases, but maybe you’re curious. Or ready to try something new.

A word to the wise: you may find yourself irked that you can’t easily access The Loft on your next trip to Wegman’s. Howard County Liquor laws do not allow liqour in grocery stores or even anything that feels food-liquor adjacent. The decision to allow The Loft comes with a price: it must be a completely separate business with a separate entrance. Without that, it wouldn’t be there at all.

Something else to think about: there are members of our community who would like to do their grocery shopping without the lure of a liquor store looming nearby. Making the decision to live a sober life is a tough one and it’s an ongoing decision with many, many little choices all along the way. Sometimes the key to keeping safe is to choose spaces that won’t put alcohol in your face. It’s an act of self-care. And self-preservation.

If having a bit less convenience for me might possibly make grocery shopping less perilous for them, I’m all for it.

And that brings us to the Zero Hour Happy Hour at Georgia Grace. In creating these Happy Hour events Sobar  is giving moments of respite to those in recovery and who are committed to living sober. The holidays are a really rough time to get through when most folks around you associates celebrating with imbibing. A Zero Hour Happy Hour is a good time, with delicious food and drinks, and an opportunity to be social and celebrate in a way that’s healthy and safe. 

Plus, an event like tonight’s at Georgia Grace is a opportunity for people who do serve alcohol at home to learn about delicious and appealing alcohol-free drink choices they could be offering to their guests during the holiday season. Hint: you can buy some great ones through Sobar. They’re also offering what they call a “Buzzless Box” which could be a great addition to what you want to have on hand for guests. Or even to try out yourself. 

Even if you do drink alcohol, there are times when you just don’t want to. At our house we’ve fallen in love with many of the alcohol-free microbrews available these days. I’m also a fan of the Lyric Premixed AF G&T’s. You don’t need to live an alcohol-free life to enjoy alcohol-free beverages. Perhaps you just need to be curious. Ready to try something new.

Visited the Loft? Tell me what you think. If you go the the Sobar Happy Hour or enjoy alcohol-free beverages, I’d love to know about that, too.

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