You embarked on Dry January full of enthusiasm but now it's the last stretch and perhaps the novelty has worn off? It can be hard when your social life usually revolves around food and drink but fear not — a new wave of enthusiasm for low and no-alcohol drinks in bars and restaurants all over town means there’s plenty of options out there. You can still spend the night in the pub or eating out, and enjoy some great drinks minus the next day hangover. Here are some ideas to get you through the last of the sober sprint…
‘Bar For When You’re Off The Beers’, 10 South Anne Street, Dublin 2
Pure Brew, the very tasty non-alcoholic lager from the Guinness brewers, have just launched a pop-up dry bar on South Anne Street called the ‘Bar For When You’re Off The Beers’. From 18th - 20th January, they’ll open the bar for non-alcoholic beer tasting and entertainment from comedian Joanne McNally on Friday; Marcus O’Laoire on Saturday and alternative date night with Davina Devine on Sunday. No dutch courage needed, but booking is advised. Admission is free, and drinks and snacks are complimentary.
The Vintage Teapot, 8 Cathedral Street, Dublin 1
On my own sober sprints, I find eating out can be the hardest part, particularly if you’re eating food that usually goes hand in hand with alcohol. So it’s not a bad idea to look for places that have a drink focus other than booze. Enter the teahouse — The Vintage Teapot on Cathedral Street is the quieter, unassuming sister venue of critics darling M&L Chinese. In this chilled-out space, you’ll find great Chinese teas and dim sum. Steamed shrimp ha-Kao and Siu-Mai are delicate dim-sum with smooth transparent pastry and just the right amount of bite. They have a great tea menu, with the star being the Pu’er; an aged earthy tea that’s fermented in its production, meaning it’s a powerhouse of health. They also host all manner of events — most recently, flower arranging, flamenco dancing and live jazz. Another great option is The Tea Garden on Ormond Quay.
Sober Sunday’s at MVP, 29 Upper Clanbrassil Streeet, Dublin 8
The Brewtonic & MVP crew have been running a series of Sober Sunday’s for January, hosting curated alcohol-free events upstairs in the pub. The focus is on opening folk up to the idea of new & fresh non-alcoholic drinks, having chats on mindful drinking and they throw in some yoga, meditation and movies for good measure. This Sunday (January 20), Kale & Coco join in with smoothie bowls, there will be chats with Tracy Cassidy from Silk Tree, kombucha tasting and an Edik’s Mild Vinegar Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Demo. If you do fancy a night out, you’ll also find a low and no-alcohol drinks menu, featuring non-alcoholic craft beers and cocktails in all the Bodytonic bars around town, including MVP, The Bernard Shaw and Wigwam.
Token, 72-74 Queen Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7
Remember when you could fill up entire evenings battling to get to on the leaderboard of Street Fighter 2? Token in Smithfield is the perfect place to relive any arcade nostalgia you may have, or indeed the perfect introduction if you missed it the first time around. Part bar, part diner, part retro-arcade, you’ll find plenty here to keep you occupied other than boozing. Get stuck into a game of Mortal Kombat, Space Invaders, Tetris, or Donkey Kong and there are no less than six pinball machines to work through. Tuck into hot dogs, sliders and vegan spice bags to keep you fueled and live your best adolescent life again. Also worth checking out P. Macs in Dublin 2 and the Blackbird in Rathmines — both have stacks of games to keep you entertained and some interesting non-alocholic craft beers.
The Stella Theatre, 207 Rathmines Road Lower, Dublin 6
January is certainly a busy time for cinema-goers. It's prime awards season and plenty of pub avoiders are flocking along to the latest flicks. But why not jazz up your movie night by heading to the lovingly restored Stella Cinema in Rathmines? This plush, art deco-inspired theatre shows the latest movies along with weekly brunch clubs and late Friday night classic screenings (this weekend, it’s Heathers). You can book in to watch a movie and settle down in their unbelievably comfortable seats and have your food and drink brought to you. Order from a succinct but tasty food menu, featuring hot dogs, tacos and loaded nachos and choose from drinks menu that has plenty of non-booze options, including milkshakes and non-alcoholic beer. They also recently opened a new Stella in Ranelagh. Check out their website for times and to see what’s showing.