Though Dry January is just a short-term regimen for many, this new Chinatown bar is here to help you take a break from booze throughout the year.
STAY. is an entirely alcohol-free bar located within Chinatown Central Plaza. You wouldn’t necessarily glean that just from looking at it, though: STAY. is a dimly lit space outfitted with plush couches, shelves full of bottles and tables topped with meticulously prepared drinks, all complemented by a slate of DJ nights and art openings—you know, a bar.
That’s all by intention, and the work of founders Stacey Mann and Summer Phoenix. “I wanted to create a place where intentionality is supported,” Phoenix says. “Where an alternative to alcohol-seeped interaction is rewarded and not frowned upon.”
You might’ve found the doors open at times over the past few weeks, but STAY. officially opens for business today, Friday. The drinks, concocted by beverage director Derek Brown, are inspired by the 12 Chinese zodiac signs and consist of cold-pressed juices, fresh herbs and zero-proof spirits. Take, for example, the Ox, which combines bourbon alternative Kentucky 74 and vermouth-like Roots Divino Aperitif Rosso with ginger syrup, aromatic bitters and a bit of smoke. Or the Monkey, a Rum-and-Coke–like that uses Caleño Dark & Zesty rum alternative with cola, bitters, lemon, lime and coconut. Non-alcoholic cocktails average around $20, and you’ll also find a couple of wine and beer alternatives, and, on the food side, plant-based bites by vegan chef Erica Daking of Kitchen Mouse.
STAY. certainly isn’t the only place for a zero-proof drink in town right now: Taiwanese tasting menu spot Kato offers what’s easily the best nonalcoholic beverage pairing in the city, Soft Spirits started selling bottles of booze-free beverages back in 2021, Bar Nuda has been hosting alcohol-free pop-ups over the past year or so and Shirley’s Temple has been mixing mocktails in a café-like setting in Long Beach since last fall. But as far as we can tell, STAY. is the first no-alcohol bar of its kind in L.A. proper.
You’ll find it inside the former Hong Kong Café, a onetime punk venue that’s more recently recognizable as that pink building in Chinatown Central Plaza. STAY. (425 Gin Ling Way) is open Thursday through Sunday from 5pm to midnight.