A guide to hitting the town sober

Not drinking alcohol doesn’t make you a bore

Image by: Curtis Heinzl
Bowling with friends is key to a good night without alcohol.

A Friday night for some Queen’s students might involve a few drinks and some good memories. As a Muslim person, I like the good memories part, but I don’t drink and I don’t feel there’s a need for it.

When I tell people I don’t drink, I’m sometimes met with some pouting sad faces. Sometimes I even get sorry looks. At a school like Queen’s, it’s undeniable there’s a drinking culture that’s embedded in many traditions. There’s nothing wrong about folks who want to partake, but not everyone does, and that’s okay as well.

In my experience, our peers are generally very accepting of people who don’t want to drink, although I know people who have had different experiences. 

With the new alcohol consumption guidelines, here are some things you can do on a Friday night—stone cold sober. 

Board/card games

There’s nothing like a good board game or card game. I’ll be the first to admit, I hate learning the rules to card or board games. There’s nothing like learning the rules with a group of friends. 

A good board or card game can bring together people who don’t really know each other and make them friends. You learn so much about people—the way they think, their communication skills and strengths, and their general vibe—from games.

My favourite card game I’ve played is “Debatable.” If you love to argue and come up with arguments, this one’s for you. It really helps if you’re not under the influence for this once. 


This one might sound weird, but hear me out. Bowling is fun, it’s safe, and it forces you to have social interaction with people. Bowling balls are, in my opinion, exercise because of their weight. 

Bowling is a great way to create networks, and I’ve heard of friends playing in competitive leagues, which is always cool. 

The Screening Room

Going to the movie theatre on a Friday night in Kingston is so underrated. The lines aren’t as long, and the vibe is different. It’s a relaxing event, and you have the chance to completely detach yourself from the daily grind of life as a student. 

At The Screening Room, you’ll see local Kingstonians mixed with some students, and it’s a great way to end off a long or stressful week. It reminds you there’s more to Kingston than just the Queen’s bubble. 

Watching a good movie gives you the thrill of engaging with new content that’s fun, fresh, and exciting. I recommend challenging yourself and watching a genre you normally wouldn’t; you might find a new favourite. 

Live music

This is a great option for people who enjoy music and the general ambiance of a band or soloist. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the live talent of people. 

I will preface this by saying many locations with live music in Kingston do serve alcohol, but it’s easy to spot many people there just for the vibes alone. Plus, good food is usually readily available in these locations boosting the experience. 

Ice cream

I love ice cream and I couldn’t go without mentioning it in this article. There have been countless Friday nights I’ve walked down to Mio Gelato or White Mountain for some of the best ice cream in town. 

It’s delicious, not that expensive, and there are some options for people with dairy allergies or intolerances. Getting ice cream is more than just the actual ice cream; it’s about the walk down, and adventures you get into along the way on a Friday night. 

When in doubt, Dairy Queen always hits the spot. The Princess St. location isn’t even that far from the centre of activity if you want to be near it. 


These are just some ideas for a sober Friday night. Whether you choose not to drink because of religious, health, or other reasons, you’re incredibly valid for that. 

Even attending a house party or hitting up Ale or Stages can be done without alcohol. You’ll like being able to recall all the events from the night previous. 

What matters most is loving what you’re doing, and the friends or people you’re with. That makes the world of a difference and makes finding a community at Queen’s much easier.


activities, friends, fun, Sober

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