The Gathering Scene 1

Frank Rich and David Walters pose behind their bar last week, where they serve mocktails at The Gathering Scene. 

SIERRA VISTA — A new business in town provided a “sober family friendly” environment New Year’s Eve as an alternative to alcohol filled events.

Dozens came together to ring in 2021 with games, dancing and mocktails. “We are providing a sober alternative which people need,” said The Gathering Scene co-owner David Walters.

Couches lining one of the walls invite in those passing by. Community art, books and a local board game made by a Sierra Vista resident greet those who come into the space. Books and puzzles are available for those who decide to take load off and hang out. Alcohol-free drinks and coffee are available for purchase. Local art or books can be purchased with the money going to the artist or author.

“We wanted to do something and knew people wanted to get out of the house,” Walters said. “We tell people this is a living room outside of their living room.”

The Gathering Scene is located inside The Mall at Sierra Vista. Walters and Frank Rich opened The Gathering Scene in October because they felt the community needed a space like the one they provide.

“We began talking about it in March. Right before the situation started,” Walters said. “It was the right thing to do. We were shown the way.”

He added that they chose the mall to open their business because of the foot traffic. With people walking by, Rich and Walters can interact with customers who may be peeking in and taking a look at the new establishment.

The mocktails are healthy and made fresh daily by Rich and Walters. Rich had the idea for the mocktail environment after visiting Scotland last year. He said he really enjoys the atmosphere at those places and wanted to bring it to Sierra Vista.

“Mocktails are all the rage overseas,” Walters said. “Right now there aren’t options in the states. This is a healthy alternative. We hit a demographic (that is asking) ‘how can I better myself?’ ”

The Scottish theme is seen in the kilts the owners wear while they work.

“We’re bringing them back,” Rich said with a smile. “This (business) is my baby. I always wanted something like this.”

The Gathering Scene is open Sunday through Saturday during mall hours. Arrangements can be made if a game runs late.