You preach about the importance of supporting sustainable, local businesses, curl your lip in disgust at the thought of eating anything other than grass-fed beef and (almost) always buy organic and local goods, even if it means spending more of your hard-earned cash. So, don't throw that mind-set out the window come Saturday night when it's time to booze with your buddies.
Conscious-tipplers can finally rejoice. The organic movement is slowly setting its sights on liquor…thankfully, since corn and grains arguably top the list of bioengineered, pesticide-ridden crops. Eco-friendly drinking means choosing liquors that require less energy to harvest, don't pollute groundwater with pesticide run-off and are easy to sustain. With the growing number of eco-friendly drinks on the market, we found a few local bartenders just itching to pour you a glass.
Funky Buddha Lounge
Known for its diverse crowd and clean air filter, Buddha had to be one of the first nightclubs to offer organic juices and spirits? Owner Mark Klemen says that when Buddha started offering organic options a few years ago, patrons sent the libations back to the bar, claiming the juice had gone bad because it wasn't sweet enough…oh, how we love corn syrup. Now, this beacon in the green community is one of the only places in the nightlife scene selling 100 percent organic drinks, like the Sunshine and Rain ($9), a mix of mango orange soda and Rain vodka. If alcohol's not your thing, order one the tasty Santa Cruz juices or sodas straight-up.
Butterfly Social Club
Located right next door to Buddha and under the same ownership, Butterfly (slated to open at the end of April) takes conscious clubbing a step further. The completely sustainable building is made from a cobb (a mix of sand, clay and straw) and, like BSC, caters to organic teetotalers with organic cocktails and a variety of herbal tonics. But here, instead of sipping juice all night, guests who prefer nonalcoholic concoctions can spike their drinks with ingredients like kava and yerba mate, which give you a natural jolt and sometimes tingling sensations. You'll never look at an artificial energy drink again. Keeping with its green vibe, staffers here take turns riding bikes to help power the club.
Juicy Wine Company
While this newish wine bar doesn't serve certified organic wines, it does exclusively offer biodynamic varietals. Biodynamic wines are made with the same chemical- and pesticide-free methods practiced in organic farming, but traditionally, farmers also take an almost spiritual approach (including harvesting according to the solar and lunar cycles). Among the wines from all over the world, you'll only find a few poured by the glass (from $7-$18); bottles here are a far better deal (starting around $25).
Although decidedly more music and performance space than bar, Dulcenea is just the place to tipple an organic saketini while enjoying events like a monthly live painting or hip-hop party. By day, the space functions as a cafe, offering up free wi-fi alongside organic coffee, tea, smoothies, juices and organic muffins and scones from nearby Bleeding Heart Bakery; come 6 p.m., gallery openings and DJs take over. An all-organic liquor menu—sake, beer, wine and sangria—should become available in May. You can even look forward to classes focusing on organic beer and sake education.
Come late April, design- and modular-furniture-fans will finally have a bar to call their own in the Fulton Market district. Lumen, with it's one-of-a-kind LED lighting, is poised to become the next hip destination spot in the area, but the owners swear it won't have an elitist vibe. Lumen is already making organic liquor drinkers drool with its organic mixers, garnishes and the organic Snow Queen martini ($9), with organic Snow Queen vodka mixed with muddled fresh organic cucumber and ginger, a squeeze of lemon juice, shaken and served in a chilled martini glass with a cucumber garnish. Although the Snow Queen is the only organic specialty cocktail, vodka-drinkers can order the spirit with simpler drinks like vodka tonics, too.
Looking for more natural buzzing while dining out or dining in?
Sidle up to the all-organic wine bar at Karyn's Cooked for a glass of Mead honey wine.
After noshing on a natural chicken sandwich, order up one of a few organic or organic Rain vodka at Uncommon Ground.
Unless you've come for a crunchy vegan breakfast at Heartland Cafe, make a beeline to the interior Buffalo Bar for various kinds of organic beer.
In addition to the warehouse-style Sam's Wine and Spirits and Binny's (which sell organic options like vodka, wine and bourbon), Provenance Food & Wine stock a few well-priced biodynamic wines.