FOR some, the idea of a night out with no alcohol is ludicrous. But in Stockbridge, DRY Edinburgh is on a mission to prove you don’t need beer or wine to have a good time – all you need is great company.
Among birch trees, red walls and oriental decor, around 100 people gathered for the opening of the Capital’s first alcohol-free bar on 17 Jan 2016. The “bar”, on North West Circus Place, offers customers a large range of mocktails, alcohol-free craft beers, wine and spirits. The owners have organised a programme of entertainment including quiz nights, musical performances and table tennis leagues. Jamie Walker, 48-year-old father-of-four from the city’s New Town, who previously owned the Adelphi Whisky company came up with the idea for the unique venture after spending several years in South Africa rehabilitation after he developed a drinking problem, he moved to Cape Town for rehabilitation.
Jamie has now been 'dry' for 13 years and wants to use his experience to show others alcohol is not an essential element to a good night out. He said: “The philosophy behind DRY is that it is possible to go out and have a grown-up fun evening in an alcohol-free environment.
“Our customers don’t need to feel pressured into drinking alcohol. We don’t want to
create a virtuous, hair-shirt experience; but rather a relaxed vibe where you can meet friends and share delicious food, drink and good conversation.” Jamie and his childhood friend, Tertia Bailey, set up DRY in response to a trend for non-alcoholic beverages among increasingly health-conscious millennials.
Recent research by brewing giant ABInbev found that 41% of young people are pursuing a healthier lifestyle by actively cutting down on alcohol. Some of the beers on offer include well known brands such as Becks Blue and Carlsberg. A selection of alcohol free ciders, including Kopparberg, and wines are also on offer. Jamie added: “We were really pleased with our opening night – we had a fantastic turnout. “We hope to attract all ages of people. We are proud to be the first bar of this kind in the city.”