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Can a Booze-Free Bottle Shop Change the Way Angelenos Think About Drinking?

Soft Spirit’s spirits are for those looking for an alternative to alcohol

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Soft Spirits non-alcoholic bottle shop in Silver Lake, California
Soft Spirits
Courtesy of Soft Spirits
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

There’s a new adult beverage non-alcohol bottle shop in Silver Lake called Soft Spirits, and it’s the very first of its kind in Los Angeles. The shop opened a few weeks ago on a popular stretch of Silver Lake, next door to Dayglow Coffee and All Day Baby. To be clear, Soft Spirits is specifically for adults looking for a beverage that’s good for winding down or celebrating a special event, sans booze.

Until recent years, non-alcoholic options were largely limited to beer and wine, but this new crop of spirits, beers, and wines are not only flavorful but in-demand from those looking to live healthier lifestyles while reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption. This market is already big business. The New York Times estimates the non-alcoholic beverage market will be worth $1.6 trillion over the next five years.

According to owner Jillian Barkley, there are a thousand reasons why people choose non-alcoholic drinks. She simply wants Soft Spirits to be the place where people can find a delicious beverage. Barkley says Soft Spirits is a one-stop-shop for anyone, whether they prefer booze or not. “We provide everything that someone would need to make a great cocktail, but without any of the alcohol,” says Barkley. “So we supply spirits, mixers, alcohol-free bitters, wine replacements, and non-alcoholic beers.”

Barkley designed Soft Spirits for those who enjoy the flavor of alcohol, but not the effects per se. She describes her customers as those who appreciate the ritual associated with drinking, or just want to celebrate. A pregnancy might be involved, or someone abstaining from alcohol for the night. Whatever the reason, Soft Spirits can provide something new, and different, and it just might change the way Angelenos enjoy drinking.

While there are run and whiskey replacements at Soft Spirits, Barkley also stocks “alternative spirits.” These new brands make zero-proof spirits that do not mimic traditional liquors. Three Spirit has three varieties, with one called nightcap that chills you out a bit. Soft Spirits also carries Los Angeles-based brand Optimist Botanicals that takes inspiration from neighborhoods like Venice, Topanga Canyon, and the High Desert with flavor that rivals botanical gins, tequilas, and citrusy vodka.

Hours are Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays, and closed Monday and Tuesday.

Soft Spirits

3208 ½ W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 Visit Website