Sober October: The best mocktail bars in the UK

Plenty of us want to cut down or cut out alcohol

The Virgin Mary, Dublin

by Marianna Manson |
Updated on

We all know that a month off the sauce can do wonderful things for our health.

But if the thought of being dry for the whole of January (traditionally the month of misery and restriction) was just too unappealing, October is another month in the calendar when going sober would find you in good company.

Go Sober for October is an initiative by MacMillan cancer support to raise funds for life-saving research, treatment, and support. On top of the warm fuzzy feeling of giving to charity, you could also lose weight, gain energy or discover a whole new hobby when you give up alcohol for a month.

But what about when you don't want to miss out on socialising or going to the pub when you're busy beating cancer and improving your health?

Never fear, we've rounded up some of the top places in the UK to drink when you're not drinking - just as good as the real thing.

CHECK OUT the best booze free mocktail bars in the UK


Sober October bars

Sober October bars1 of 9

Colours, Hoxton

Formerly the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen, this heavy-weight nightspot has had a revamp and a change of name - welcome to Colours. It's new name and decor reflect a change in direction for the establishment and Colours has a real focus on sober-free socialising, with alcohol free mixer events every Tuesday.

Sober October bars2 of 9

BrewDog, nationwide

BrewDog is much more than just a watering hole for the hipster craft-beer drinking elite. In recent years they've extended their menu to include a host of fine wines and cocktails, but their biggest achievement has to be their permanent menu of low and non-alcohol craft beers and ales.

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The Virgin Mary, Dublin

The cleverly names Virgin Mary is Ireland's first permanent alcohol-free cocktail bar for teetotallers who want every inch of the glam cocktail party experience. Expect gorgeous décor and an impressive mocktail menu with serious attention to detail. They even won the Innovative Bar of the Year award at this year's Bar Awards.

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The Connaught Hotel bar, London

Drinking your cocktails virgin is no unsophisticated affair at The Connaught Hotel bar in London, with an award winning mocktail menu and a seriously luxurious ambiance. Just make sure you've got a few bob spare, as it's prices match it's five star service.

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Be at One, nationwide

Be At One may be a major chain with branches all across the UK, but they've made a real effort in recent year's to cater to non-drinking clientele, with an extensive mocktail menu and bar tenders who will happily make you low or non-alcoholic versions of your favourites. And you HAVE to try their fun cocktail making app.

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Sobar, Nottingham

Sobar Nottingham was set up as a National Lottery initiative with ALL the profits from Nottingham's first alcohol free bar going to local drug and alcohol recovery charity, Double Impact. It's also been voted as one of the City's top 10 bars by Culture Trip magazine, so you can feel chic while doing good. Win win.

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The Brink, Liverpool

There's so much going on at The Brink in Liverpool that you'll forget all about not drinking. From live music to poetry and even fitness classes, The Brink is a fantastic local space and a community enterprise which pours 100% of the proceeds back into drugs and alcohol addiction rehabilitation programs.

Sober October bars8 of 9

Rose Villa Tavern, Brimingham

For seriously cozy pub vibes this autumn, head to the Rose Villa Tavern in Birmingham's Jewelry Quarter and enjoy their alcohol free cocktail list alongside some fab pub grub. There's also classic pub entertainment, like live music and pub quizzes to keep your whistle whetted.

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CREDIT: Catherine Gratwicke

Redemption Bar, various locations, London

Launched in 2015 in London's Notting Hill, Redemption bar prides itself on being the "world's first alcohol free bar" and has since opened two more swish venues, in Shoreditch and Coven Garden. Expect to feel utterly pampered as you enjoy expertly mixed mocktails and a buzzy atmosphere.

Colours, Hoxton
©Colours, Hoxton

The sober-curious movement is gaining lots of popularity among women in particular, thanks to the successes of bars like these and books such as The Sober Diaries and The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober.

We chatted to Nat Rich, Personal Responsibility Coach and founder of sound-basedwellness platform I AM SOUND, for some tips on how to get started.

1) Go beyond the craving

If you feel the urge for a drink ask yourself 2 things; What is the situation you are trying to make easier to handle by drinking the alcohol? What is your feeling about the situation that you are trying to avoid? By noticing your reasons as to 'WHY' you feel the need for a drink you will very quickly start to see what causes you the problem. Remember: It's hardly ever the alcohol that you become addicted too, it's the state the alcohol puts you in that allows you to ignore the feelings you don't want to face. It's the place you mentally escape to that becomes the hook.

The Virgin Mary
©The Virgin Mary

TIP 2) Don't avoid the bar

If you get asked out for a drink with work friends don't automatically assume you need to avoid the bar because you are not drinking. If you really want to experience the full benefits of sober living, it comes from being able to learn to trust yourself in the same environment without being triggered. Avoiding alcohol and the places that serve it is not as empowering as being able to say no when it is on offer. You are strong enough to say no, so allow yourself to see that. Ask your friends to remind you NOT TO DRINK whilst with you too as this reinforces your very capable decisions. Remember: If you're avoiding the pub this does not mean you have given up drinking. It means you're avoiding it and what ever we resist, persists. So start as you mean to go on. Learn the art of saying no straight away.

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TIP 3) Go incognito

Like it or not some people will try and push alcohol onto us to make themselves feel better when drinking it. So to avoid the drama of having to let them down you can redefine what it is you like about your favourite cocktail and then ask the guys at the bar to make you an alcohol free one. Usually we like the unique blend of fruit juices that come with a cocktail and the name of it excites us. So, have the drink but make it a mocktail. Remember: No one will ever ask you why you are not drinking if you have a glass in hand.

Check out Nat's website for some more sober life hacks here__.

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