It’s not really about the meal at the monthly Conscious Family Dinner, although there is a plenty of vegan Indian food. You can spend time in a cuddling sanctuary, sit down with a tarot reader, chat career goals with a life coach or sit in on an acro-yoga sex psychotherapy presentation. And there’s almost always some form of dancing.
But what’s inconspicuously missing is alcohol.
Creator Ben Rolnik says the dinners are about creating a new form of play that facilitates meaningful connections, not the vapid chitchat that often proliferates at cocktail parties or bars.
The reception to the dry dinners, held at various spots in Los Angeles but expanding soon nationwide, has been impressive, with each of the 200-person event selling out.
Tickets cost about USD 35.
“It’s like a journey more than a dinner,” said Rolnick, a 26-year-old yogi and former talent manager.
Similar parties are popping up across the country, notably in New York, Miami and Chicago, tapping into an itch from millennials to find meaningful connections and purpose even in their night life.
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When Justin Henderson, who created the event company Bender , hosted his first few events in Chicago a few years ago, he served alcohol, but noticed very few people were imbibing. As time went on, he noticed more alcohol was leftover at each event and he decided to stop offering it all together.
Instead, Bender’s events range from 40 to 300 people and include everything from a rooftop yoga pool party at the Standard Hotel to midnight silent disco yoga on the pool deck of the SoHo House in Chicago during a full moon.