Last updated: January 2023
From full-time sobriety to the growing ranks of the sober curious, there are a myriad of reasons why one would choose not to drink alcohol – extending far beyond the trending limits of Sober October and Dry January. We’re not going to list those reasons here, because quite frankly we need to stop asking why people aren’t drinking and simply start normalizing the choice. But one thing’s for sure. When traveling, the need for hangovers, blurry memories and alcohol-fueled misadventure is even less necessary than usual. Luckily, there’s a rising crop of boozeless bars around the world meeting the demand for nolo – that’s no to low-alcohol, for the newly initiated – cocktails, craft beer, bubbles and more.
Assisting these bars in their zero-proof mission? An equally rising crop of no-alcohol brands, cans and bottles brewing intoxicating spirit alternatives, sparkling infusions and ready-to-drink craft cocktails redefining mocktails as we know them.
Self-described purveyors of healthy hedonism, Lyre’s is leading the charge in the realm of 0% ABV (alcohol by volume) classic spirits, offering alternative bar cart takes on everything from tequila, rum and whiskey to apéritifs and absinthe. Monday Zero-Alcohol Spirits not only offers alc-free alternatives to whiskey, gin and mezcal, they even offer curated cocktail kits such as our pick: the Oaxaca Old Fashioned. Plant scientists and bartenders have teamed up to create the award-winning botanical elixir and alt wine line Three Spirit, while Seedlip distills zero-proof original spirits in time-tested, alchemist-style copper stills. Mediterranean-inspired Ghia has created a non-alcoholic amaro so believable it recently landed the title of New Drink of the Year by Esquire.
Canned cocktails are getting a nolo reboot too. Mocktail Club is reimagining the portable party fave with alcohol-free, travel-inspired creations like a bitter Capri Spritz and smoky Bombay Fire, while Hella Cocktail Co. puts their own spin on the canned craft with a lineup of bubbling Bitters & Soda aperitifs. Looking to wind down? Recess is helping you stay calm, cool and collected with their line of magnesium, hemp and adaptogen-infused sparkling waters.
We haven’t even mentioned Budweiser and Heineken, both of whom have released zero-proof brews of late. Though we’d argue Athletic Brewing Co. is taking the no-buzz brew craft a few steps further. Prefer a pour? Fre by Sutter Home offers everything from chardonnay to merlot to sparkling rosé – all without the alcohol.
Even Blake Lively’s in on the action with her line of bubbling, alcohol-free Betty Buzz beverages, not to mention Bella Hadid, Co-Founder of adaptogen and nootropic-infused Kin Euphorics.
Suffice to say, we’ve come a long way from the days of tonic water with a slice of lemon. Whether you’re headed on a dry trip, a dry month or a dry lifetime, here are 9 low to no-alcohol bars around the world guaranteeing a night of revelry – without the regrets.
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The Virgin Mary Bar: Dublin, Ireland
An alcohol-free pub in Dublin? It not only exists, it’s been shifting paradigms since 2019 with it’s inspired range of zero-proof cocktails alongside an extensive selection of booze-free beer, cider, wine and bubbles. Billed as a wellbeing bar inspiring people to drink different, The Virgin Mary Bar delivers with multi-layered, aromatic cocktails that are clean, complex and exceptionally balanced. Case in point? The uplifting Damask Rose, pairing Lyre’s Italian Spritz with rhubarb, ginger tonic and Wildlife Botanicals Blush. Or the relaxing American Dream, mixing Lyre’s American Malt with blood orange tonic and Three Spirit Nightcap. Of course, you haven’t really visited TVM until you’ve tried their signature Virgin Mary, featuring hand-pressed, antioxidant-rich tomato juice complemented by lime, pickle, spice and Muscat.
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Wildcrafters: Jacksonville, Florida
At booze-free bar Wildcrafters in Jacksonville, an extensive list of zero-proof craft cocktails are served alongside calming concoctions infused with kava root: a plant-derived adaptogen native to the South Pacific. Try the Nogroni, a liquor-free riff on the bitter cocktail made with Giffard Aperitif, Monday Gin and Lyre’s Aperitif Rosso, or the Kava Mule made with kava root, ginger beer, lime juice and simple syrup.
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Zeroliq: Berlin, Germany
Opening as Germany’s first alcohol-free bar in 2020, you’d have no idea this buzzy Berlin drinkery doesn’t serve booze until you open a menu. Choose from several under-0.5% ABV craft beers, a generous selection of alcohol free wines (take your pick from red, white or sparkling) and a masterful menu of creative, no-alc cocktails. We’d opt for the Carrot Cake, pairing alt-gin with carrot juice, lemon juice, hazelnut and vanilla, or the Summer in Berlin, made with ginger ale, mint, cinnamon, fresh ginger, lime juice and apple juice. Fun fact: the name Zeroliq is a combination of “zero” and liquor.”
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Sans Bar: Austin, Texas
Launched in 2017 as a series of monthly pop-ups, word spread so quickly amongst Austin’s alc-free set that Sans Bar quickly found a permanent home on the eclectic eastside. This no-liquor locale provides all of the hangout vibes you would expect at a lively bar, minus the hangover. Choose from several zero-proof cocktails like the alt-tequila Sansgarita, sip a glass of no-ABV wine or opt for a booze-free craft beer – all while enjoying the sounds of rotating live music. Underscoring it all? A dedicated commitment to community and connection, as fostered by Sans Bar Founder and former counselor Chris Marshall.
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Brunswick Aces Bar & Distillery: Melbourne, Australia
What started in 2017 as Australia’s first alcohol-free gin, Brunswick Aces has now expanded into two more of the country’s firsts: liquor-free bar and bottle shop. An expertly curated menu of 100+ alcohol-free cocktails, wine and beer are on offer at the combination bar, bottle shop and distillery, open for regular bar service on Fridays and Saturdays and during the week for special events. Zero-proof cocktails range from bespoke creations to sober takes on classics – try the popular no-alc Negroni or Tom Collins – while cheese & charcuterie boards, truffle fries and further savory snacks offer the perfect accompaniment. Feeling truly sober curious? You can even inquire about reserving a spot in one of the distillery’s monthly tours.
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Ocean Beach Cafe: San Francisco, California
After taking a year off alcohol just to see what would happen, Joshua James became Josh the Non-Alcoholic on YouTube and opened the doors of Ocean Beach Cafe: a liquor-free bar, bottle shop and beachside community art cafe on a mission to house the country’s largest selection of NA beverages. Alongside innovative alc-free cocktails (choose from “classic-ish” or seasonal) you’ll find a smart selection of NA beer, wine and bubbles, plus accompanying bar bites satisfying carnivores and vegans alike. Feeling like a Smartini Pants? This regret-free riff features alt-gin, vermouth and bitters, or try the alt-whisky and amaro Devil Mountain. Better yet, go all in with a private Temperance Tasting: an exclusive 1-hour deep dive where you’ll try the best of booze-free cocktails, wines, elixirs and more.
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The Virgin Mary Bar: Abu Dhabi
You’re not seeing double. The Virgin Mary Bar achieved such success in Dublin that it expanded just last year to the Middle East. The revolutionary zero-proof cocktail bar is the first of its kind in the region, residing in Abu Dhabi’s upscale Galleria Al Maryah Island shopping mall. Masterful alcohol-free cocktails (including a take on the tiki-classic Jungle Bird), bubbling botanics and alt-wines pair effortlessly with a menu of elevated bar bites and mains, all in a decidedly sleek setting inspiring guests to drink, and socialize, differently.
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0% Non-Alcohol Experience: Tokyo, Japan
Over 20 no-alcohol craft cocktails, accompanied by a menu of vegan small bites, are on offer at this futuristic bar in Tokyo’s lively Roppongi district. The cocktail menu happened to be created by (multiple) award-winning bartender Shingo Gokan. Try the Heralbony, made with watermelon, plum, cranberry, alcohol-free sake and salt, or the Iceland Bubble, a molecular mixture of jasmine tea, pineapple, vinegar, butterfly pea and ginger brown sugar syrup.
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Raised by Wolves: San Diego, California
Landing at #19 in North America’s Best 50 Bars 2022, this sophisticated speakeasy hidden inside a San Diego shopping mall dedicates an entire page of it’s cocktail menu to zero-proof concoctions. That’s right – imbibers and sobibers alike can find the perfect sip at this hip, inclusive cocktail bar. Try the Pirate’s Anthem, a mix of citrus, pineapple, black walnut and allspice, or ask the bartender to create a customized no-alc creation based to your taste.
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