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What's billed as LA's first zero-proof cocktail bar recently opened in Chinatown

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

With young Americans drinking less, more zero-proof or no-booze bars are popping up around the country. NPR's Iman Maani reports from Los Angeles.

(LAUGHTER)

IMAN MAANI, BYLINE: What's billed as LA's first zero-proof cocktail bar recently opened in Chinatown. Stay seems like a typical bar - until you check out the drink list. Instead of alcohol, you'll find things like tequila alternative and nonalcoholic wine.

NATALIE FERNANDEZ: If you are underage like us, this could be a good outlet to go to.

MAXINE MUSTER: I'm pregnant, so thought it would be a great idea to go get nonalcoholic drinks (laughter).

KAITLYN RYOU: Someone like me who also have health issues and I can't really drink alcohol - it's nice to, like, get that bar feeling.

MAANI: That's Natalie Fernandez, Maxine Muster and Kaitlyn Ryou. Only 62% of adults 34 and younger say they drink. That's down 10% from two decades ago, according to a Gallup report. And those who drink are doing so less frequently.

DUANE STANFORD: It's definitely a growing trend in the U.S. Consumers are paying more attention to their health, more attention to health and wellness. That doesn't always mean that they stop drinking altogether, but a lot of times, they are trying to moderate how much they drink.

MAANI: Duane Stanford is the editor and publisher of Beverage Digest. He says even though Gen Zers are drinking less, they still want to go to bars to socialize.

STANFORD: They're looking for opportunities to still have fun, still do something a little more special when it comes to what they're drinking in social situations.

MAANI: Summer Phoenix and Stacey Mann say that's why they opened Stay.

SUMMER PHOENIX: The zero-proof movement is this idea that you don't need alcohol to have a great time.

STACEY MANN: I grew up in New York as a club kid, going to clubs and, you know, drinking at a young age. And so my experience was that we need that to have fun as young people.

MAANI: Despite a growing demand for mocktails, Stanford says booze bars are here to stay. Mocktails can cost just as much or even more than a regular cocktail.

STANFORD: The price points are, I think, going to be one of the challenges. With any market like this, you're going to have those who figure out a way to still continue this as a niche.

MAANI: For now, Phoenix and Mann are confident the zero-proof movement will only keep growing.

MANN: We're having a difficult time getting our shelves stocked.

MAANI: Mann says zero-proof spirits sellers are having a hard time keeping up with demand. Meanwhile, she's getting questions from others interested in opening zero-proof bars.

Iman Maani, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF JAKUZZI'S "JAZZ HOP") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Iman Maani
Iman Maani is a production assistant on Morning Edition and Up First. She began her journalism career at Member station NCPR in Canton, New York. She has also worked on the political docu-series, Power Trip, that covered the midterm elections. Iman is a graduate from St. Lawrence University.