Winner: Donny Donovan and Carolyn Hilliard of Empath
It’s no secret that Pittsburgh is a drinking town, which can make social situations difficult for people who avoid alcohol. Carolyn Hilliard and Donny Donovan are working to change that with Empath, a sober pop-up bar that, for nearly two years, has been serving virgin drinks and mocktails at locations throughout the city. Inspired by their own struggles with sobriety, the two women have quickly made Empath a name in the local events scene by appearing at live music shows, galas, and markets, and by hosting sober happy hours at places like Bantha Tea Bar. And they’re just getting started, as they hope to settle down in a permanent space that will serve as a safe, welcoming environment for people who want to party without feeling pressured to drink.