Philly’s first zero-proof bar has finally opened in the city’s Manayunk section. The Volstead by Unity is a vegan/ zero-proof restaurant owned by husband and wife, Robert and Arielle Ashford. This restaurant is the latest addition to the Unity brand following two yoga studios, a community center, and a taqueria.
The Unity brand is the embodiment of Robert and Arielle’s mission to create safe and comfortable atmospheres for those in recovery, sober curious, or simply looking to support their overall wellness. Each of their businesses does this in a different way while cohesively creating an environment of community support and recovery.
Specifically, The Volstead offers zero-proof cocktails which differ from “mocktails” or non-alcoholic drinks in that they still have the same taste and nuance of a classic cocktail just without the alcohol. “Zero-proof means that they’re crafted from scratch with no alcohol to begin with” owner, Robert Ashford tells us. These drinks are safe to be enjoyed by those who are sober, in recovery, pregnant, nursing, etc. while still allowing them to be in the midst of a fun and lively environment.
In addition to the delicious drinks, The Volstead offers a 100% vegan menu created by Robert Ashford himself. “The menu at The Volstead really fits in with the core mission of health and wellness” Robert tells us. He goes on to say that eating healthy and sustainable food is a vital part of increasing longevity for ourselves and the planet. Inspired by his home state of Texas, he tells us that the food at The Volstead is big a bold, but it isn’t made with too much spice for those who may enjoy a milder flavor.
Robert and Arielle also take their brand’s mission a step further by paying their employees and living wage and implementing an equal opportunity hiring process across all of their businesses which includes, but is not limited to hiring; those in recovery, those returning home from incarceration, and/or those living with mental health issues. “If (our employees) tried to go to some other places, they might have to tick “that” box and that might disqualify them from employment; you’re not gonna find that here” co-owner Arielle Ashford explains.
In recovery themselves, The husband and wife team hold their mission to high standards and strive to create spaces filled with opportunities and resources for all who enter.