I've mentioned before in this blog that true friends don't pressure their friends to drink alcohol. If a friendship is built around alcohol, then one may have to question if it's a toxic relationship. With that being said, unless you live under a rock, it's impossible to avoid settings that serve alcohol. So it may be important to prepare when colleagues or friends start planning weekend activities.
1) Choose daytime over evenings. Most drinking and partying tends to happen late at night. If you want to avoid this scene, tell your friend you'd be happy to meet. For lunch. If your friend objects, be honest. If your friend still objects, make up another excuse, such as the need to wake up early the next morning for a doctor's appointment. In fact, you can even schedule something the next morning so you won't be lying.
2) Choose restaurants over bars. If you have any say in where your group of friends will be going, suggest a restaurant instead of a bar. Sure, restaurants serve alcohol, but that isn't their focus. Restaurants focus more on food and conversation while bars are more focused on drinking alcohol.
3) Suggest a setting with live music, live comedy or open mic. If you're going to a concert or an open mic, the focus tends to be more on the music than on the drinking. Of course, some "dive bars" have live music, so a relaxed acoustic venue or friendly open mic might be preferable. This can help keep the focus on entertainment rather than the drinking.
4) Bring an encouraging friend. If you're surrounded by people who push drinking lots of alcohol, try to bring a friend who will encourage you even if you don't drink. There is strength in numbers, and sometimes it helps to have that extra person who can lift you up.