Erin Allen: Good afternoon. I’m Erin Allen and this is The Rundown.
So New Year’s Day is nearly here, which means Capricorns and Aquarians, it’s about to be January again. Some folks look forward to the first month of the year, not because it’s their birthday, but because they have a reason to take a break from a fun but yet often harmful habit: drinking alcohol. Dry January actually originated in the United Kingdom in 2013 as a way to not only drink less, but also be more mindful when you drink. Since then it’s gotten popular across the western world. Whether you abstain from drinking in January, or you’re basically never drinking, you might still want that bar atmosphere. And not drinking alcohol doesn’t mean you don’t like trying delicious concoctions. If that resonates, Cristina Torres created a bar just for you: The Bendición Dry Bar and bottle shop, over on Division near Western in Humboldt Park. And she’s here today. Christina, welcome.
Cristina Torres: Hi, Erin. Thanks for having me.
Erin Allen: Thanks for being here. So tell me a little bit about why you started Bendición.
Cristina Torres: So I got sober in February of 2020. And during that time, it was pretty hard for me to be in a space that revolved around alcohol. Living in Chicago, which is a city that there is a bar next to a bar next to a bar, it was just like a bad time in my life. And I basically, it was like, well, there’s nowhere for me to hang out right now, like most cafes closed at like five, you know, restaurants, pair everything with alcohol, there’s nowhere for me to go. So I’m just going to make it myself. And thinking about what it is that I wanted out of a space helps me create the space for other people, because this bar and bottle shop is for other people more than it is for myself. It’s just to create that space for other people to come when they don’t have anywhere else to go. Even if they’re just not drinking for the night.
Erin Allen: Yeah, I also find that whenever someone’s wanting to go out on a date, or just have, you know, like an intimate one on one time. It’s like, yeah, we’ll grab a drink. And I’m like, can we grab a tea?
Cristina Torres: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, and there was a study recently, I honestly don’t remember which dating app it was, was probably like OKCupid or something, that they released an article saying that like a lot of younger people, now when they go on dates are not going to bars anymore, because they want to be present during their dates. And they want to get to know the person. So they go to like parks or museums, or hopefully there’s a dry bar in their area, not just let’s all have drinks. You know, I talk over drinks, but it’s just a fun, present thing to do. And you’re aware of what you’re saying.
Erin Allen: …….