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Heads + Tails bar
Andy Parsons

Places in London to drink when you’re not drinking

Just because you’ve stopped drinking doesn’t mean you have to stop going out. These bars cater to non-drinkers, too – and very well indeed

By Laura Richards
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Whether you’re having a night off or you prefer to swerve the booze altogether, being sober in London doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. These bars also cater to the non-drinkers for Dry January and beyond, and provide a great place to party, alcohol-free. So choose from buzzing bars that also specialise in alcohol-free cocktails, completely dry bars or pubs with a penchant for low-and-no beers. These zero-percent champions are 100 percent awesome. 

15 great places to drink when you’re going alcohol-free

1. Mother Kelly’s

Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs Vauxhall

From January onwards, one of the best alcohol-free beers going – Lucky Saint – is finally being poured on draught at a handful of London bars. Try it at this epic taproom and see it stand up tall against the 4-10 percenters.

Heads + Tails bar
Heads + Tails bar
Andy Parsons

2. Heads + Tails

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars West Hampstead

If you’re the only one in the gang avoiding the spirits, stay in on the action here. The West Hampstead cocktail bars (a bright ground-floor spot and a dive bar below) get lively midweek, and thanks to a menu of saintly serves upstairs, you can swig cocktails like the rest of them. The Everlong (£5) is made from Everleaf, a bittersweet alcohol-free aperitif that adds serious depth to drinks.

Venue says Now delivering pre-batched cocktails! We've a fantastic range of drink-at-home cocktails ready for same-day delivery (locally) & nationwide

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3. The Connaught Bar

Bars and pubs Hotel bars Mayfair

The mega-bling hotel bar may be famed for its Martinis, but you can still make it a place for one hell of a celebration when on the wagon. Mocktails – presented with just as much artistry as the hard stuff – include luxe ingredients, from salted cacao coconut water to red berry kombucha.

4. Square Root Soda Bar

Bars and pubs Café bars Seven Dials

Square Root describes its beverages as ‘made with as much effort as quality alcoholic drinks’ – and as well as colas and fruit-packed sodas, it has mastered an alcohol-free Negroni Spritz, a boozeless shandy and a sober G&T. That’s just the bottled range. At the bar within Kerb’s Seven Dials Market, cocktails completely void of alcohol incorporate hacks to produce the flavours you might expect from something stronger. Pull up a stool and go on a journey of soda discovery.

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5. Brewdog

Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs Camden Town

You can still have a night out on the hops at Brewdog’s Camden branch, where they regularly pour their own non-alcoholic craft beer Nanny State from the taps. There’s also a running club that meets here weekly. Beer guzzling never felt so saintly.

6. BrewDog AF Bar

Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs Old Street

Yes, other BrewDog bars provide a cracking selection of alcohol-free beers, but this branch takes the trend one step further. This Old Street watering hole is a completely boozeless bar, with 15 taps dedicated to alcohol-free beers made by the Aberdeenshire brewers as well as its competitors. They also stock zero percent sodas in the fridges and a range of sober wines, so there’s plenty to explore when you’re on the wagon – and not even a whiff of temptation.

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7. Permit Room

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars King’s Cross

Visit the Bombay-styled bar beneath Dishoom King’s Cross when on a voyage of sober discovery. Alcohol-free drinks include affordable sharbats made from fruits and flower petals and imitation cocktails – from a mean Virgin Colada to a Dry Old Fashioned.

teatulia
teatulia
© Jason Bailey

8. Teatulia

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Seven Dials

Time to go tea-total. Not only does this Seven Dials spot serve a great cup of char – by day, it’s a single-origin tea shop – but it’s also home to a cocktail bar where some of the drinks are alcohol-free. They’re all delicious and they all contain tea (like in a green tea-infused Ginger Snap), so you can get buzzed on caffeine instead. 

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nirvana brewery
nirvana brewery
Photograph: Nirvana

9. Rake

Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs Borough Market

As well as stocking the full bottled range, Borough Market’s small but mighty beer bar is now giving up one of its draught lines to London’s first dedicated alcohol-free brewery, Nirvana. Taste the brand's 0.5% Hoppy Pale Ale on tap for a truly spiritual experience.

10. Redemption

Restaurants Vegan Notting Hill

Redemption is a pioneering bar without booze. Cocktails and cold drinks are pure as they come, from a Mock-jito to the cheesily named Lettuce Spray. Veggie and vegan dishes are just as good for the conscience.

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The top 10 bars and pubs in London - Earl of Essex
The top 10 bars and pubs in London - Earl of Essex
© Charlotte Mayhew

11. Earl of Essex

Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs Islington

On the wall is a board of beers from across the land, with each one’s hefty ABV advertised. But in fact, the Earl has got the soft options on lock. Lucky Saint beer is stocked in the fridges and is full of the hoppiness you'd expect from any round at this pub. If beery flavour is too much like temptation, the Earl also stocks a solid range of sodas.

12. The Book Club

Nightlife Late-night bars Shoreditch

Now we know what you’re thinking: this is a party bar in the middle of Shoreditch. But party doesn’t always have to end with a hangover, and The Book Club proves that with its ‘Lo and No’ menu. On there you’ll find alcohol-free cocktails like the Nojito alongside Seedlip and tonic and a range of booze-free beers.  

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13. Sexy Fish Bar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Mayfair

This lavish Mayfair hangout with a terrible name caters to a fashionable crowd with its menu of four booze-free drinks – one of which is made using aromatic alcohol-free spirit Seedlip, another made from the kitchen’s ‘daily juice’.

14. The Exmouth Arms

Bars and pubs Pubs Clerkenwell

At the foot of Exmouth Market you’ll find just as appetising a spread of delicacies at beery institution the Exmouth Arms. Away from the hard stuff, feel-good bottles from Erdinger, Mikkeller and Ipswich’s low-alcohol pushers Big Drop Brewing Co populate the fridges.

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15. Lina Stores

Restaurants Italian Soho

Okay, it’s not a bar. But Lina Stores has the answer for the indulgent pasta-and-wine moment you may well be craving at the times you go sober. Two blood-red cocktails on the menu – the Nogroni and the Seedlip Spritz 42 – are alcohol-free and stand up to the bold comfort-food flavours. Minus the booze, but still buonissimo.

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