If there’s ever a time when it’s easy to get caught up in some hard partying, it’s during Charleston Wine + Food, and that applies to both the guests and the crew putting the events on. For those working on their sobriety, that pressure cooker environment can be too much.

That’s why the founders of Ben’s Friends, Charleston Grill GM Mickey Bakst and Indigo Road managing partner Steve Palmer, along with Scott Crawford, are hosting two alcohol-free sober after parties.

“It’s going to be Friday and Saturday at Macintosh beginning at 11 p.m. and we’re going to be meeting on the patio in the back and have a jelly bean bar to mix ‘cocktails,'” says Bakst. “We want to provide a place where people don’t feel compelled that they have to go to a party, get drunk, get hungover. It’s a new environment where people in the restaurant industry can feel comfortable not having to party.”

The sober parties are in addition to a Ben’s Friends-sponsored yoga event taking place Saturday morning March 3 at 9 a.m. in the Culinary Village. Bakst, Palmer, and Crawford were instrumental in helping begin similar efforts at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival last year with Kat Kinsman’s chill space idea, a lounge area that a newly sober Sean Brock called “the safest I’ve ever felt.”

For Charleston Wine + Food’s Spirit Free Festival After Parties, anyone can attend. “It can be anybody in F&B,” say Bakst. “They don’t have have to be involved with the festival.”

The parties will begin on Sat. March 3 and Sun. March 4 at 11 p.m. at The Macintosh’s outdoor patio.


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