Qmmunity: Spirits of Sobriety

Austin’s queer community offers intentional alcohol-free events for the sober and sober curious

Queer + Sober ATX founder Inaya Zuwena's favorite mocktail spot: Ani's Day and Night (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Stay dry this July. Post-Pride Month, we're easing off the gas to merge into the lane of sober socializing. Cruising on through Austin, you can find places for support in your recovery journey as well as community social spaces of other queer folks without booze in the background.

July 7-9 marks this year's Austin Roundup conference: an LGBTQ- focused gathering on recovery from addiction and alcoholism. Regular features of the event at the DoubleTree Austin are workshops and speakers from across the experience and identity spectrum. Austin Roundup's Peter Northfelt anticipates about 100 attendees from all over Texas, as well as international folks. Speakers' meetings are free to attend, and there's also entertainment options like a bingo lunch hosted by the Capital of Texas Conference Players as well as a Saturday night drag show hosted by Louisiana's Belinda B. Having an event centered on recovery in the queer community is inherently special, and Northfelt finds that bringing people together is where the real magic is. "We can all see each other, sometimes just once a year," he says, "and meet new people to look forward to seeing next year." You don't have to attend the full conference to get a taste of Austin Roundup, which also offers monthly fun in the form of bowling nights, dancing, bingo, and more. Just showing up to one event can be enough. "You'll probably want to spend the whole weekend with us," Northfelt says, "after you let loose a little!"

When the majority of queer events take place in bars and clubs, enjoying the company of rainbows without booze involved can be difficult. In response to this difficulty, Austinite Inaya Zuwena founded Queer + Sober ATX in order to make space for both her queer and sober identities. She's been organizing alcohol-free social events for queer folks since September 2022 with coffeehouse meetups as well as fun twists like a two-step night and hiking trips on the Barton Creek Greenbelt. For those thirsting for one of Queer + Sober's high-spirited spirit-free events, this month features a hike at St. Edward's Greenbelt on July 16 at 10am. When it comes to sober sips, Zuwena stumps for local drink brand SoCo's ginger beer aka her current fave beverage. For a bar slinging non-boozy bevies, Zuwena recs Best of Austin winner Ani's Day & Night. "The care that goes into crafting their beverages is unmatched," Zuwena says of the little Riverside house's delicious nonalcoholic cocktail options. But when it comes to the why of Queer + Sober, her goal is far bigger than the contents of a drink glass. "Building community and a safe space for others is the most important to me," Zuwena says.

Q’d Up

POV: ur in a simulation An AI-inspired drag show hosted by Justice. Thu., July 6, 10pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. instagram.com/justice_mx.

Banned Bodies A celebration of rage hosted by the Trans Era and Jasmania, with Gothess Jasmine, Jenna Talia, and the Great Flying Cervix. Fri., July 7, 9pm. Hotel Vegas, 1502 E. Sixth. $5 cash. texashotelvegas.com.

Otter Fest 2023 Otters and other gay mammals descend on Hippie Hollow for two days of fun in the sun. Nudity allowed but no lewd contact. July 8-9, 9am-close. Hippie Hollow, 7000 Comanche Trl. $8 cash entry fee; donations appreciated. fb.com/ron.delaney.98.

Emo Night Austin TX Emo Club takes over both CUC stages. Featuring DJ sets from p1nkstar, Turito, and bbding, and drag hosted by Brigitte Bandit. Sat., July 8, 9pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. $7.02 online; $10 at door. instagram.com/txemoclub.

Red Hot 2023 A summer FUN-draising event with a dunk tank, silent auction, and turn-a-bout. Sun., July 9. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth. instagram.com/projtransitions.

Decompress Fest Come one, come all to allgo's seventh annual community healing fair, welcoming QTBIPOC folks and allies for free food, music, and fun! Sun., July 9, noon-4pm. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina. Free. fb.com/allgoqpoc.

Drag Dive Top off your TuezGayz with this Diamond Dior Davenport-hosted drag show featuring top-notch performances. Tuesdays, 9pm. Swan Dive, 615 Red River. $10. instagram.com/swandiveaustin.

I See You See Me A photography show curated by Bianca and Riel Sturchio of 18 LGBTQ, chronically ill, disabled, and neurodivergent artists. July 8-Aug. 12. Opening reception: Wed., July 12, 7-9pm. Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Rd. instagram.com/rly_riel.

Extra, Extra

Tongue in Cheek Gaily giggle at this queer comedy open mic hosted by the hilarious Ivy Le. First Thursdays, 8pm. Swan Dive, 615 Red River. instagram.com/swandiveaustin.

Austin Vogue Nights Attention queers: It's House of Lepore's monthly Vogue Night, with seven categories and seven chances to serve. First Thursdays, 10pm. Swan Dive, 615 Red River. $5. instagram.com/houseoflepore.

Trans, Enby, Intersex & Queer Swim Swim alongside your queer compatriots at this laid-back get-together. Find the group on the south lawn of Barton Springs. Every other Thursday, 8-10pm. Barton Springs Pool, 2131 William Barton Dr. instagram.com/queerswimatx.

UnBEARable! Every first Thursday at the Bear is ATX's longest running camp-comedy drag institution: UnBEARable! See the "Dames of the Den" along with special guests and dance with Prance Albert for this grrrreat show. This week Summer Clearance fills in for Mascara Rivers as co-host, and Maxim & Momma Ashley Rose feature. First Thursdays, 10pm. The Iron Bear, 301 W. Sixth. theironbear.com.

Country Night Giddy on up to the Bear for a night of Nineties and modern country tunes spun by DJ Mike. First Fridays, 9pm. The Iron Bear, 301 W. Sixth. instagram.com/theironbearaustin.

Cabin Fever Comedy Revel in summer camp nostalgia at this comedy show hosted by queer comic Brandi Davis. Lineup: Roxy Catillo, Genivieve Clinton, Yola Lu, and Katherine Hutchins. First Fridays, 10pm. ColdTowne Theater, 1700 E. Second. $10. coldtownetheater.com.

Lora Reynolds Gallery: Grottos Here's an exhibition of new drawings by Simon Haas, featuring his newest graphite drawings on panel. Each depicts a glory hole, offering a tight view at a carefully rendered cock, a peeping eyeball, a pair of solicitous fingers, a slightly parted mouth, or a deep dark (empty?) void. Opening reception: Sat., July 8, 6-8pm. Lora Reynolds Gallery, 1126 W. Sixth. lorareynolds.com.

Genesis: A Legendary Drag Brunch Nazareth hosts a heavenly drag brunch with special guests. Second Saturdays, 1pm. Wanderlust Wine Co., 702 Shady. $20 per person. instagram.com/nazarethatx.

Melanin Magic Diamond Dior Davenport hosts this POC-led show featuring Amber Nicole Davenport, Mya Jackson Ross, Leia Sakura Dior, Kristie Davenport, and special guest Natalie Lepore. Sat., July 8, 8-10pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. instagram.com/melaninmagicatx.

Coco Cxnts Drag Brunch Bohemia, Arinna Dior Heys, and Brigitte Bandit take over Coconut Club's rooftop with host Honey Baby and weekly special guests. Saturdays, 1-4pm. Coconut Club, 310-B Colorado. No cover. instagram.com/coconutclub.austin.

My Mind & Me: A Headspace Perspective of a Pup Member of the pet play community Pup Atlas gives a talk on their experience learning about, growing, and evolving a headspace as an animal role-player. STI testing on-site and refreshments served, plus a pre-talk mosh. Sat., July 8, 2-4pm. Kind Clinic, 101 W. Koenig #300. Free but RSVP. instagram.com/boopsocietyctx.

Big Gay Cabaret ATX Every Saturday, the Big Gay Cabaret brings the brunch heat to Halcyon. Saturdays, 3pm. Halcyon, 218 W. Fourth. instagram.com/biggaycabaretatx.

Otter Fest After-Party Dry off or get even wetter at the official after-party for Otter Fest. Sat., July 8, 9pm. The Austin Eagle, 8201 Cross Park Dr. Ste. B-2. instagram.com/theaustineagle.

Mikky's Dreamhouse Celebrate Mikky Norell's b-day with a fun & flirty drag show featuring the birthday girl, Colleen DeForrest, Joselyn Breezy, Julianna, Kylie Gorgeous Dlux, and Yvonna F Mei, and a performance by Luke Lewis (@lukeslyfe). Stick around for the hot girl dance party with DJ Ryan Ken Doll and DJ Landlord. Sat., July 8, 10pm. Highland Lounge, 404 Colorado. fb.com/highlandlounge.

Jam & Toast Drag Brunch Nadine Hughes hosts the first-ever drag show at Pershing Hall, featuring cast members Holly XO, Naomi Evans, and Ka'Aliyah McKim Diamond performing while you enjoy delicious food and drinks. Sun., July 9, noon-4pm. The Pershing, 2415 E. Fifth. $15. thepershing.com.

Irene's Drag Brunch Drag supreme Louisianna Purchase and friends take over Irene's for a classic brunch bonanza with drinks, dining, and divine entertainment with popcorn & sparkling wine included in table reservation. A percent of ticket sales/proceeds go to Transgender Education Network of Texas. Second and fourth Sundays, 1-3pm. Irene's, 506 West Ave. GA, free; VIP tables, $100-250. instagram.com/irenesaustin.

Queer Four Square Under the covered pavilion is your chance to enjoy this schoolyard classic with your fellow queers. Bring plenty of water! Sun., July 9, 1pm. Alamo Pocket Park, 2100 Alamo St. instagram.com/queerfoursquareatx.

Vixens of Volstead Brunch like a true queen with the Vixens. Sundays, 1pm. Hotel Vegas, 1502 E. Sixth. instagram.com/vixensofvolstead.

Sapphic Singles Develop connections and meet folks at your own pace during this informal mixer hosted by Erin Christine. Second Sundays, 5-7pm. Progress Coffee, 3421 N. I-35. instagram.com/sapphicatx.

Legendary Drag Brunch Legendary Diamond Dior Davenport hosts this hot, hot, hot drag brunch with performers Amber Nicole Davenport, Valenteno Capri, Tara Cotta, and Leia Sakura Dior. Sun., July 9, noon-5pm. The Brewtorium, 6015-A Dillard Cir. instagram.com/fridafridayatx.

TGQ Social & Campfire Queer Storytime A double whammy: Meet and greet your fellow trans and gender-diverse Austinites while also enjoying queer stories 'round the campfire hosted by World Famous *BOB*. Second Sundays, 6pm. Butterfly Bar at the Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd. fb.com/tgqsocial.

Come as You Are A queer variety show with a li'l bit of everything. Tuesdays, 10pm. Neon Grotto, 318 Colorado. instagram.com/neon.grotto.

Queeraoke Belt out your favorite jams with your host CupCake. Tuesdays, 10pm. Swan Dive, 615 Red River. $5. fb.com/swandiveaustin.

Queer Craft Night A bring-your-own-craft social event for queer folks wanting to meet new people, hone yer skills, or just get crafty. Every other Wednesday, 6-9pm. Cherrywood Coffeehouse, 1400 E. 38th½. instagram.com/queercraftnight.

Divina: Noche Drag Latinx Hostess Tatiana Cholula and special guests serve an evening of Latinx queerness. Every other Wednesday, 9-11pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth. fb.com/divinaaustintx.

Boyz of Anarchy The Boyz of Austin, our city's gender-diverse drag troupe, throws a rough & tumble tribute to cow-punk. Stellar Manx and Kelsey Hammer host, plus special guests Sticky Gold and Travis Randy Travis. Thu., July 13, 9:30pm. Elysium, 705 Red River. $9. instagram.com/boyzofaustin.

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