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Where to drink if you're doing Dry July in Melbourne

Written by
Jess Ho

We all have that friend who is doing Dry July but does not realise it is actually a fundraiser raising money for a cancer charity. Despite the name, it is not a month of self-imposed sobriety used to brag about your achievements to your friends while misunderstanding the basic functions of your organs like your liver and kidneys. It is instead a cause raising money for cancer patients, their carers and their families through sponsorship. So if you are doing Dry July, make sure you have signed up so people can sponsor you and you can do some good. 

You also do not have to go sober for the whole month. If you're officially signed up to do Dry July, your mates can buy you a Golden Ticket through a donation that gives you a night on the turps. That being said, being a social pariah, no matter the motivation, is never fun. Here's where you can go and get a decent non-alcoholic beverage without looking like an underaged dork.

Daughter in Law: At this new "unauthentic" Indian diner, there is a full page of alcohol-free drinks on the cocktail list. Think a carrot, chilli and ginger cooler, or a tandoori pineapple number with Seedlip (fake gin).

Capitano: Any time of the year, you can refer to the handy non-alcoholic section of Capitano's drinks list. Aside from Italian sodas, the restaurant is currently serving its own Pet-Nought (strawberry, orange and bubbles) and Petit Grain (citrus, passionfruit, soda). 

Fancy Free: Yes, this is a cocktail bar run by Black Pearl alumni, but don't expect the venue to be overly boozy. At any one time, there are at least three alcohol-free drinks on the list that are more interesting than blended juice. 

Bomba: Bomba and Bomba Rooftop will be running $10 mocktails all July like a Mandarin Mule or Rhubarb and Virtues, made with rhubarb, green grape, soda and dill. 

Cutler and Co: This fine diner offers alcohol-free pairings to mimic the original, like a faux pinot noir made with pomegranate, English breakfast tea and spices.

Mercedes me: Diageo World Class 2018's World's Best Bartender, Orlando Marzo, will be pouring a Seedlip Garden 108 non-alcoholic cocktail from Mercedes me all July.

O.My: Beaconsfield may be sleepy, but the non-alcoholic pairings at O.My are not. Alongside the self-run farm-driven tasting menu, you receive nine (!) non-alcoholic pairings for $55 with your dishes. Drinks include house-brewed kombucha or bottled non-alcoholic drinks flavoured with caramelised pear and kombu made by Non.

Ides: This contemporary Melbourne restaurant offers a soft pairing, meaning alcohol-free, to match its tasting menu. In our opinion, the drinks are a lot more interesting than countless bottles of sparkling water, and seeing as they're matches, they change as often as the dishes do.

Lume: Lume is already known for its out-of-the-box temperance pairings, but at the bar, they offer four zero-proof cocktails at $10 a piece with flavours like juniper, marigold and saffron.

Stokehouse: Alongside its impressive wine list, Stokehouse its added three mocktails built off Seedlip for those abstaining for the month. 

Tokyo Tina: For the month of July, a number of G-rated drinks have been made with Asian ingredients like a yuzu and cucumber soda.

Sebastian: This beachfront restaurant will be providing a range of mocktails like the Virgin Pomegranate Mojito for you to enjoy while throwing back countless pintxos. 

Looking to spend some of that sweet cash you've saved from not drinking? Check out these cafes. Still saving? Here's our guide to eating for less in Melbourne's pricier restaurants.

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