WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The first zero-proof bar in the District is open for business.

“It’s a deeper sense of a homecoming for a lot of people. And the conversation is different, the vibe is different, the energy is different. It’s super personal and it’s super intimate,” said Vergie Arandid, founder of Binge Bar.

Binge Bar, located on H Street in Northeast, opened earlier this month. The bar, which is a dry bar, sells non-alcoholic beer and wine, plus crafted cocktails without liquor. The kitchen also makes Filipino bites.

Arandid said the idea to create Binge Bar came to her when she saw an article about a similar bar in Austin, Texas. When a space in D.C. became available during the pandemic, she jumped at the opportunity.

“There’s a lot of manual labor, a lot of love that came into this place and I’m just glad that I’m finally able to share it with everyone,” she said.

In recovery herself, Arandid said she noticed a need for a dry space during her own sobriety journey. Especially, when she would go out and support friends who worked in bars, restaurants and clubs.

“I thought, I want a place like this for myself. And I know for a fact there are people in recovery and in the room that want a place like this, I can’t be the only one,” she said.

“I’m so happy it’s here,” said Joshua Beeson, who celebrated two and a half years sober at Binge Bar on Tuesday.

“This type of space, while it’s optional for some people, it’s the only option some of us have, someone like me right now,” Beeson explained. “So really being able to have a really safe space to feel comfortable and I don’t have to feel the temptation of picking up a drink again, I’m just in a really good place right now. And I’m really happy.”

Arandid believes it’s taken so long for a dry establishment to open in the District because of the existing stigma around sobriety.

“I think there’s just the stigma, it goes back to that word sobriety and the shame and the guilt and the negative connotation that surrounds the movement, but it’s no longer that,” she said. “It’s so progressive and so innovative and I’m just glad that I’m part of that group of men, women and movement that’s going to push this movement forward.”

She also noted it’s not just people in recovery that are choosing to be sober. Many people need to be sober for religious reasons, medical reasons and other personal reasons. And, whether you’re committed to being sober, or just choosing to be sober for the night, she said you are welcomed at the bar.

“There really is a purpose for this. It’s not some fad, it’s not some new trend, there is a space for these environments, these spaces in our community,” said Beeson.