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‘Unimpaired’ dry bar in Iowa City offers new option for a night out

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Unimpaired in Iowa City feels just like a regular bar, with all the classic components like cocktails, games, pizza, and karaoke.

The only difference: there’s no alcohol involved.

Just off the corner of S Clinton and E Burlington St, this is Unimpaired’s second location in the state. It first opened in Davenport last year. It’s a personal mission for co-founder Amber Haines.

“I am four years sober; I don’t drink, I still like to go out and socialize. I still like to dance, and sing karaoke, believe it or not. Sober karaoke,” Haines said. “So, I just thought, why couldn’t there be a place like this? Especially around a college so we can be there for the 18 to 21-year-old crowd.”

Haines said the goal is to offer a space where people can socialize and hang out, without any potential pressure to drink. She’s always had an eye on expanding into Iowa City. The establishment’s staff is working with the University of Iowa to offer events like open mic nights or slam poetry, focusing on giving college students a new option for a night out.

“I definitely hadn’t heard of anything like this before, I didn’t even know there were so many options that you could try or choose and still have a bar-like feel,” Amanda O’Donnell, the general manager of the Iowa City location, said.

O’Donnell said she was excited to be a part of a unique bar like this.

Unimpaired is already hosting events like karaoke and trivia. It’s open 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. for Friday and Saturday.

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