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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

Joe Mackertich
Written by
Laura Richards
&
Joe Mackertich
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Whether you’re having a night off the sauce, 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 drinking holes 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 fantastic. 

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

  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Vauxhall
  • price 3 of 4

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.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • West Hampstead
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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The Connaught Bar
  • Bars and pubs
  • Hotel bars
  • Mayfair
  • price 4 of 4

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.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Café bars
  • Seven Dials
  • price 1 of 4

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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Brewdog
  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Camden Town
  • price 3 of 4

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.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Old Street
  • price 2 of 4

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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Permit Room
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • King’s Cross
  • price 2 of 4

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.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Seven Dials
  • price 2 of 4

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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  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Borough

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.

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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  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Islington
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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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Sexy Fish Bar
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Mayfair
  • price 3 of 4

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’.

The Exmouth Arms
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Exmouth Market

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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Lina Stores
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Soho
  • price 2 of 4

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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