Could an 'alcohol-free pub' succeed?

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Jamie Wallace Wednesday 7 November 2012 5.41pm
Suspend your disbelief for a minute!

Here's the theory: Even though 21% of men and 35% of women either drink no alcohol at all, or less than one unit per week (DoH stats), you'd be hard-pressed to find somewhere to go out in the evening to have a *really interesting* non-alcoholic drink.

Not talking about a cafe, or a restaurant, or a juice bar, but a relaxed, fun, sociable bar/pub-like place, where you could get a great range of sophisticated/creative alcohol-free drinks: bitter, sour, sweet, savoury, fruity, spicy, clear, long, short etc.

Can't think of anywhere in SE1, or all of London for that matter. As a Waterloo resident, am I spotting a gap in the market, or is there a gap in my thinking...?

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connie Wednesday 7 November 2012 6.12pm
I don't drink alcohol but all my friends do so I guess I would have to go to your alcohol free bar on my own...
Jamie Wallace Wednesday 7 November 2012 6.29pm
Yep, people tell me that you'd have to serve at least a few alcoholic drinks too, but that means you've got to tangle with alcohol licensing regs, and it maybe becomes a less straightforward proposition to communicate (though maybe more viable...?).
cathed Wednesday 7 November 2012 6.48pm
I think this is a great idea. I do like a drink, but keep it to one night a week. A bar-like venue that sells soft-cocktails would be most welcome to me and mine. It would be fab to go somewhere and soak up the atmosphere of a bar, but not give in to temptation. If done right, it could also be a good little place for work-place lunches etc...
Auntie Pat Wednesday 7 November 2012 7.03pm
In the late 19th/early 20th century there used to be "temperance hotels" - largely set up by non-conformists like Methodists and Baptists. They were places where you could go and drink minerals (as fizzy drinks were called then) or tea.

I can't drink due to my health, and my best friend doesn't drink becausse he's a Buddhist so we would definitely like to see a booze-free pub.
spartacus Wednesday 7 November 2012 7.04pm
Jamie Wallace wrote:
am I spotting a gap in the market, or is there a gap in my thinking...?

Maybe, but maybe you spotted an article in the Gruaniad (first dry bar) or heard a BBC radio item recently.

Whatever, Brink in Liverpool is specifically aimed at reducing alcohol abuse and temptation for alcoholics, but has the potential for wider appeal.
Jamie Wallace Wednesday 7 November 2012 7.32pm
I've actually been to Brink - it was great. But as you say, I'm wondering if there's room for something with a wider appeal, without being quite so mission-led (though I salute their mission).
Jan the old one Wednesday 7 November 2012 7.45pm
A good idea, whether it be financially viable, I remember in the 80's every pub we went in had music piped at incredible decibel level. Meeting with friends involved either shouting or using a pigeon sign language..the only pub we knew that had no music, no slot machines was called The Porcupine in Mottingham, probably a block of flats. It would be a great idea if all Forum members could rustle up a list of non-alcoholic drinks and put them on here for us to try?
DebraG Wednesday 7 November 2012 9.06pm
We go to Wetherspoons as you can get tea and coffee at a good price. It'd be lovely to have non-alcoholic cocktails and maybe a proper old-fashioned soda pop fountain selling proper non-alco ginger beer, etc. Not everyone can drink because of their health so places to go are quite limited. It would be a great idea but for me the prices would have to be reasonable. Freshly-made carrot juice for less than 2 would be most welcome! And quiz nights, don't forget a decent quiz!
Jamie Wallace Wednesday 7 November 2012 9.09pm
That would be great Jan. What I struggle with is the unsweet end of the spectrum, which is more difficult with non-alcoholic drinks. Once I've had a couple, or even just one, sweet drink, I'm done. Citrus, tonics, bitters, ginger, spice...juniper, cardamom even. Ideas welcome.
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