A Treatise on Free Will


First I drank four different beers, then I played Connect Four with a 2-year-old, and then I hit my first golf ball ever for 90 yards! I was just getting started. I drank another four different beers, sang “Happy Birthday” to my good friend Mary Roland, then shot and killed invading alien bugs (first with a shotgun, next with a pistol). Then I drank a pint of my favorite of the eight beers. Then.… Well, I kept choosing to have fun!

The ancient Greeks told the story of Oedipus as a discussion point: Do we have the liberty to decide our own fate, or does fate determine how our lives unfold? For millennia, humans have fallen hard on both sides of that question (and increasingly, along the nondualistic school of compatibilism, but I digress).

According to their website, Free Will Craft + Vine was named because they are all about personal choice. “Pick your beverage, play games, relax on comfy couches, compete on our HD multi-sport simulator, or fire up the laptop and pound out some work. You choose.” So whether you live every moment like a Dionysian free will enthusiast, or whether you just want to find a way to escape the rigmarole of life for an hour or two, Free Will has you covered.

Disclaimer: Those first eight beers I drank in the intro paragraph were only 1-2 ounces. In fact, the new-to-NoDa thing about Free Will is that it is a self-pour bar. You start a tab and receive a personal watch-like wristband for everyone in your party. With that band, you can activate any one of 60 taps and pour your own drink. The costs are calculated to the hundredth of a penny by the tenth of an ounce. My math brain felt appeased knowing I was being charged for exactly what I received.

Prices range from a quarter to a dollar per ounce, with the average sitting right around $.45. You have the option to taste just a swallow or two of dozens of beers or to drink a few pints of your favorite. Hard seltzers, ciders, a variety of wines, and Prosecco are also on tap. There are drink specials on most weeknights. Plan ahead with their regularly updated tap list (or decide not to).

Different sizes of glassware are available for you to help yourself. I especially love the glass rinsing stations at every corner so you can clean out the remnants of your old beer to make way for the new. No one wants their D9 to mix with their Narragansett (or maybe they do—choose your own adventure!), but why create extra dirty dishes? … Unless you want to!

Enjoy your drink with a plethora of exciting activities. There is trivia on Thursdays and live music on Fridays. Have a philosophical conversation or play a board game. There are shuffleboard tables, cornhole sets, and of course their monster gaming system which has a 12×12-foot screen allowing you to interact in life-size games like golf, football, lacrosse, or shooting monster attackers. Reserve it for twenty minutes for $15 on weekends and just $5 during the week. (Pro tip: book ahead of time online.) For now, the gaming system is free on Mondays!

Decide your own fate and visit Free Will Craft + Vine at 3701 North Davidson Street (in the same building as Divine Barrel Brewing). As my husband Erik commented afterwards, “It’s like a personal beer fest … and you can shoot things.”