HUMBOLDT PARK — Bendición Dry Bar has found a home in Humboldt Park plant store The Succulent City.
Cristina Torres, founder of the non-alcoholic pop-up, set up shop in The Succulent City, 2540 W. Division St., last month, melding the two small businesses.
Bendición sells bottled non-alcoholic spirts, beer, wine and canned cocktails curated by Torres. It’s open 1-7 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
As part of the partnership, Torres is hosting a series of events at the plant store, including queer tarot card meetups, a monthly variety show and weekly game nights. The sober events are an extension of Bendición Dry Bar pop-ups Torres hosted at bars in recent years.
In the coming months, Torres also plans to build a bar within the store where patrons can sit and order non-alcoholic cocktails, she said. The project is being funded through Torres’ GoFundMe, which raised $17,655.
The bottle shop — and forthcoming bar — are the manifestation of Torres’ dream to build a sober hangout in a city dominated by bars. Torres suffered from an alcohol addiction for years before launching Bendición Dry Bar in 2020.
The Succulent City opened on Division Street last year, selling succulents, cacti, tropical plants and ceramics, along with small gifts and local art. Owner Marcus Kirby opened the brick-and-mortar after his online shop skyrocketed in popularity during the pandemic.
Plants helped Kirby overcome an alcohol addiction and other personal hardships, he said.
Kirby approached Torres on social media last winter about sharing his Humboldt Park storefront, realizing they share a deep appreciation of plants and have overcome alcohol addictions.
“Separately, we were running parallel on the same path. At one point we converged, and it made sense [to join forces] right from the beginning,” Kirby said.
Torres said she hopes to open the alcohol-free bar in the spring. In the meantime, the two business owners plan to team up on sober events centered around plants, such as a repotting event and a sip-and-paint with non-alcoholic drinks and plants as the subject, she said.
The blended business is winning over neighbors, Torres said.
“People will come in and say, ‘I’ve been wanting for this,’ and, ‘I’m so excited you’re here,’ and it makes me so happy there’s so much enthusiasm for it,” she said.
“There’s just general excitement for an alternative to going to a bar to hang out with friends and having to be in a space where you don’t want to be. Now we have this alternative option for people who do want it.”