Is there a pub without alcohol

Sober bars : Drinking and partying without getting drunk


A festival completely without alcohol
In the brick hall of the former Truman brewery in the East End of London, bartenders at small stands with improvised counters serve sample sips, mix cocktails and chat with the audience: students, hipsters, best agers, in between restaurateurs with notebooks, but also neighbors and the curious who want to know what it actually is, a "Mindful Drinking Festival".
Admission is free, there is unobtrusive music, you quickly get into conversation. There is so much to try. Actually everything is the same as at all wine, beer and spirits fairs. With one difference: none of what is served here in the form of cocktails, long drinks or shots contains alcohol.


The British are "sober curious" - curious about sobriety
The festival was founded by Laura Willoughby, a former politician who decided to give up alcohol and now wants to inspire others to enjoy alcohol-free enjoyment as well. Interest is growing steadily. In 2017 there were 2,500 visitors a day, by 2020 more than 10,000 non-alcoholic distillates, mixed drinks, beers and sparkling wines wanted to try. Great Britain, the motherland of the pub crawl, is sobering up. The alcohol consumption of the British has been falling steadily for several years, they are considered “sober curious”, ie “curious about sobriety”: 21 percent of 18- to 60-year-olds drink no alcohol at all, the proportion is among 18- to 24-year-olds even over 25 percent.

The range of alcohol-free distillates is growing rapidly
The new desire to stay sober has resulted in the selection of non-alcoholic spirits on the island increasing continuously. “Seedlip”, the first alcohol-free distillate, came onto the market in 2016, and there are now around 70 competitors. Ben Branson, the founder of “Seedlip”, has the claim “What to drink when you are not drinking” protected because that is exactly what it is all about: to offer an adult drink when you don’t want to drink anything. Maybe a “Seedlip Garden” that has aromas of peas, rosemary and thyme. Branson recommends drinking it with tonic. Even if it is without juniper, the drink comes very close to a gin and tonic.

In "Sober Bars" everything is "without": alcohol, cigarettes and meat

A separate gastronomic genre has already emerged in London for cocktails like these: sober bars, in which drinks with alcohol are not served. Catherine Salway and Andrea Waters opened their first “Redemption Bar” back in 2014, and now they offer a large selection of non-alcoholic cocktails, beers, tonics and elixirs as well as vegetarian-vegan dishes at a high level and with great success at three locations in London “Redemption Bars” are well attended, the guests are between 20 and 60 years old, many of them under 30, they often eat, drink and party together in large groups, the volume level is high, accompanied by music from the 80s - a collection of lonely people , fun-free ascetics looks different.

The first completely alcohol-free beer bar opens in London
James Watt, the founder of the craft beer brand “Brewdog”, also wants guests not to have to compromise on quality, taste and experience when they choose a drink with little or no alcohol. “Brewdog” currently has five non-alcoholic craft beers in its range. At the beginning of January, the first “Brewdog Bar AF” opened in the East End of London with 15 non-alcoholic beers from the tap. In the first month the new beer bar had 20,000 guests. Further branches will follow, not only in sober-London.

Alcohol-free drinks accompaniment are already available at gourmet level
Rob Simpson, bartender at the heavily hyped London restaurant “Clove Club”, believes that “the drinks must be a special experience for all guests, not just for those who choose cocktails with alcohol”. A large part of the ingredients for the drinks in the “Clove Club” are homemade. Rob Simpson naturally uses the technology of his colleagues in the kitchen: Sous-vide cooker, dehydrator, mixer and siphon. "Especially with alcohol-free drinks, you need know-how in kitchen and bar technology to give drinks depth, mouthfeel and volume" - sensory perceptions that otherwise alcohol takes over. Because it is also a flavor carrier. With the lamb dish, the guest gets a drink made from reduced beetroot juice, which, supplemented by the water of rehydrated prunes, goes perfectly. And it's also good for business: if you don't drink anything, you often just order water. You generate more sales if you think a few things about non-alcoholic beverages.

Berlin is way ahead when it comes to non-alcoholic menu accompaniment
In the fine dining league of Berlin, this has long been considered good form. The “Rutz” has fabulous kombuchas that also work as pairing. In “Golvet” or “Bandol sur mer” they ferment exciting non-alcoholic drinks to match the dishes. Sebastian Frank from "Horváth" is considered to be the pioneer of the scene. He tailors his non-alcoholic drink accompaniment perfectly to his delicate dishes. For example, there is an essence of parsley root, carrot, celery and two kinds of apples with the suckling pig, plus a spoonful of darkly reduced sauerkraut juice and mountain cheese rind flavored with oil. A wine first has to achieve such a complex taste.

Berlin's bar culture is also sobering up
But not only cooks invent drinks, bartenders are also increasingly in the kitchen. Jonas Stein from the “Amo Bar” in the Hotel Amo says: “We have regular prep days. That's where we prepare the ingredients for our drinks. We want to do as much as possible ourselves. This is the only way we can control the quality of the individual components and thus the best possible ingredients for our drinks. ”The bar menu in the“ Amo Bar ”virtually calls for an exchange with the bartender. Firstly, it is only in English and secondly, the ingredients are so special that you have to ask to understand what is actually in the glass: hydrosole, lactic acid, cherry stalk tea, beurre noisette ...? So: A hydrosol is the product of hydrodistillation. The aromas from plants or spices and other flavor carriers are dissolved in water in a rotary evaporator under pressure and vacuum, resulting in a distillate without alcohol. Beurre noisette (nut butter) is a lightly browned butter, lactic acid is lactic acid and cherry stems are cherry stems that make a grassy tea when brewed.

The first "Dry Pub" is about to open
Non-alcoholic cocktails also play an important role on the menu. They have three of them, recommended for example the “Lavender Town” with honey-lavender hydrosol, peach syrup and lemon. There is also homemade cola, which is transparent because it contains no coloring, as well as seasonal tonic varieties. The gin is of course also available in the bar, but “only” twelve types. Jonas Stein does not have an alcohol-free variant in its range, at least not yet. "We'll do it ourselves at some point."
The first "Dry Pub" opens on March 12th in Berlin. The motto of the "Zeroliq" in Boxhagener Str. 104 in Friedrichshain: "Buzzy drinks, zero booze." There are non-alcoholic craft beers, wines and cocktails. In addition, a small bar food menu with vegan tapas. And no smoking. Cheers!

This article appeared on the culinary pages "More Enjoyment" in the Tagesspiegel - every Saturday in the newspaper.Click here for the e-paper subscription. You can find more enjoyment topics online on ourTopic page.

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