Dray: A Growing Hub for the NA Community
By Erin Trauth
When you visit Dray, Boston’s first dedicated non-alcoholic (NA) bottle shop, you see the organized, colorful rows of exciting NA and zero-proof drinks. You see the friendly faces of the Dray staff members ready to help you find the perfect drink complement to your meals and gatherings. And now, as Dray enters its third full month of business, you also really begin to notice the feel of community that Dray is bringing to Boston’s South End (and beyond). You feel it through the camaraderie of those who enter, many of whom are now repeat customers many times over. You see it in the bustling event calendar, featuring collaborations with non-profit organizations from all over Boston, yoga studios, and trendy local restaurants looking to expand their commitment to non-alcoholic drinks. What’s become obvious in the last few months is that Dray is not just a place to pick up non-alcoholic drinks: it’s becoming a hub, a home, and a source of needed community for so many who were craving a place just like this.
“Anyone walking through our doors has some change they’re wanting to make or explore,” said Pat Dooling, Founder and Owner of Dray. “People are coming in now and seeing other people just like them, and it’s becoming a space for people to create community.”
This, of course, was always Pat’s plan: Dray is not just a business, but it also gives a portion of its proceeds to local nonprofits working to help those in recovery through its organization, Dray’s Better Days. Dray also is a space, from day one, that was set up to collaborate with local organizations wanting to offer a physical space for people to gather and socialize without alcohol. The space serves a spectrum of purposes: a spot for those wanting to enjoy a healthy alternative every now and then to a space for those trying to abstain or recover from alcohol as a major and permanent change.
“This is something we see in recovery programs,” Pat said. “It’s often the regular meetings and the community you meet that helps people stay away from their addictions, and I’m trying to extract a bit of that idea and put it into place here at Dray.”
And there’s something for everyone: in the first half of February 2024 alone, Dray will host free tastings with ISH Spirits (Feb. 8) and Guinness NA (Feb. 9), a “meet the artist” and art show event with Leika Creative (Feb. 10), an Dray Social featuring a DJ, a tasting with Maine’s Woodland Farms + marshmallows (Feb. 11), and a Lime Social Club gathering (Feb. 13), among several other events listed on Dray’s event page here.
With nearly daily events scheduled, Dray is becoming a space for those seeking to be intentional about their drink consumption: it’s a growing hub for a flourishing community of people – at all different levels of the abstention spectrum – to meet others, have fun, enjoy NA drinks, and truly enjoy the NA journey together.