UK & World News

  • 5 April 2014, 5:27

Cheers! More Booze-Free Bars For Britain

A growing number of alcohol-free bars cropping up across the UK could signal a shift in attitudes towards drinking.

Catherine Salway set up a dry bar in London last year after spotting a trend in young people wanting to be healthier and cutting back their drinking.

She said: "If you're 30 now, you've grown up in an environment where everyone is getting lashed all the time ... and really, as young people want to do, they are questioning the status quo which is to say why is socialising constantly linked with being drunk all the time?"

Ms Salway funded her Redemption bar independently, but a number of other dry bars in the country have been backed by alcohol charities.

These have included venues in Nottingham and Liverpool.

Sophie Fordham, a university student who has blogged for Alcohol Concern, reckons younger people are becoming more open to the idea of alcohol-free bars.

"Say you go out three nights a week, if you replace that with one night at a chilled out, nice place, where you don't have to think about spending money on alcohol, you don't have to think about how you're getting home ... It's just a nice alternative," she said.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest UK alcohol habits are changing among young people.

The number of people, aged 25-44, who said they had had a drink in the previous week dropped from 74% to 63% for men and from 62% to 50% for women, between 2005 and 2012.

Other research appears to show a reduction in teenagers drinking alcohol too.

Former Coronation Street star Kevin Kennedy, better known to soap fans as Curly Watts, is a recovering alcoholic who hasn't had a drink for 17 years.

The actor is hoping to open his own dry bar in Brighton.

"I think in the UK we have got a kind of reputation of being just drunks, especially abroad and I think people are getting fed up of that. I think as a collective we are growing up," he said.

But when customers at a typical London pub were asked if booze-free nights can be as fun as alcohol-fuelled ones, the reaction was not overwhelmingly positive.

One drinker said: "I don't think it would be very fun because that's the whole point of a bar isn't it, that it serves alcohol?"

Another added: "Fun sometimes comes when you lose your inhibitions and alcohol helps you lose your inhibitions."

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