Portland's Groundbreaking 24-Hour Sober Club
The remarkable hangout features foosball, poker tables and a stockpile of energy drinks.
Portland, Oregon is saturated with strip clubs and breweries, offering limited options for the recovery crowd looking to hang out after hours. But that's changing: Since late 2012, Winston Murray, a 24-year-old entrepreneur in recovery, has been working to expand the sober social scene with a remarkable repurposed warehouse dubbed "Fourth Dimension." The club is open 24 hours, offering free entry and an assortment of booze-free activities for the younger sober set.
Complete with foosball, ping-pong, poker tables, a stockpile of energy drinks, and a room littered with thrifted couches and a Wii, the place "feels like the basement of your coolest middle school friend’s house," one club-goer tells The Fix. She adds that all ages are welcome, "but anyone 30-plus will probably feel out of place before the first A$AP Rocky song on the stereo in the corner has finished playing." Though the club houses a weekly young people’s AA meeting, it’s far from an Alano Club in nature. Emphasizing the importance of camaraderie, not just recovery, to a sober life, Murray tells us, “The club is intended to provide people with the same fellowship that kept me sober through so many hard times.”
Fourth Dimension’s accessibility relies on the help of attendees who volunteer to take supervisory shifts. Ultimately Murray hopes donations will fund a small staff once a nonprofit status is secured. The small but consistent crowd of club-goers are hopeful about the future of the venue. Dre, a 25-year old college student and one of Fourth Dimension’s regulars, recognizes the club's importance: “It’s safe and reliable, and most people don’t have access to something this cool.”