The Super Bowl party in the North Loop had all the makings of a hopping pregame bash: pounding live music, piles of food and a setup of chairs made for mingling and anticipating kickoff.
Yet a key ingredient in Super Bowl parties around the nation — alcohol — was nowhere to be found. And that was the whole point.
The Sober Bowl started in Super Bowl host city Houston last year as an alternative for recovering alcoholics, or those who choose to sidestep the heavy drinking that can accompany events like the annual big game. This year, people packed into the MUSE Event Center in the North Loop for an afternoon of talks and music before the Super Bowl watch party.
“We wanted to create a venue where people could enjoy the Super Bowl and a game day experience without the trappings of alcohol,” said Jeremiah Gardner, a person in recovery who’s manager of public affairs and advocacy at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, which presented the event. He added that likely about half the population stays sober or drinks just a bit.
The bar doled out Coke products, or partygoers could opt for warmer drinks like coffee and hot chocolate to warm up under Sunday’s frigid temperatures.
Speakers included Carl Eller, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings, and Ryan Leaf, formerly of the San Diego Chargers. Musicians took the stage in between talks. Some attendees sported red pins that read “I am loved.”
“I was really excited to find a way to enjoy the Super Bowl with some sober friends,” said Megan Foley, 40, of Minneapolis.