The rise of alcohol-free bars

With city living on the rise, people are looking for places to escape their apartment and see friends without the pressure of alcohol.

Temperance bars aren’t new and in fact Fitzpatrick’s Temperance Bar in Manchester was founded in 1890 and is still going strong today.

This new wave of bars is not rooted in the temperance movement of total abstinence. The idea is still to provide a cool, fun environment that feels like a bar but without the risk of a hangover the next day.

The scene is taking off in New York, London and Dublin. Instagram-friendly Getaway in Brooklyn is a beautifully stylish bar, offering a cocktail menu and a friendly atmosphere. The Virgin Mary in Dublin pours cooled coffee from a stout tap to create the illusion of Guinness.

Sam Thonis, who co-owns the Getaway, told the BBC that he got the idea three years ago when he and his brother, who doesn’t drink, were trying to find a place to go out together at night: “There weren’t many nightlife options in New York that didn’t revolve around alcohol or weren’t trying to push that on you in some way,” Thonis says. “The more I talked to people, some of whom are sober and some of whom aren’t, the more I felt that people wanted that kind of space.”

It was important to the owners at Getaway that the space was not thought of as a place of abstinence.

“Nothing about our space says you should be sober, or you shouldn’t go around the corner to another bar and do a tequila shot after hanging out here,” Thonis said. “It’s not exclusively for the non-drinker.”

Whilst the alcohol-free bar is currently more of a trend than a staple, it is one that could be here to stay. There are plenty of articles out there to suggest that millennials are drinking less because of the fear of losing control in a social media  world, so these new style temperance bars are offering a solution to a very new problem.

In 2016 the Office of National Statistics asked adults over the age of 16 if they had drunk alcohol the week before. 56.7% said they had, the lowest recorded percentage since they started asking the question in 2005.

The Virgin Mary in Dublin is the country’s first permanent alcohol-free bar. It has a pub feel, selling alcohol-free beer, wine and cocktails.

Owner Vaughan Yates spoke to The Guardian: “When I mention this concept to friends, the first thing they do is laugh and ask why I’d do this in one of the bar capitals of Europe, from birth to death, baptism to funeral, Ireland has a drinking culture”.

According to the World Health Organisation Irish drinking habits are changing. Alcohol consumption has fallen by about a quarter between 2005 and 2016, and according to the revenue commission the figure dipped again in 2017.

Maybe alcohol-free bars will be the new drinking trend for the foreseeable future.

Selling food…you need to be Instagram worthy

Instagram is the beautiful, photo led social media platform that is loved by millennials. Unlike most social media before it, Instagram has changed behaviour, especially when it comes to spending money on food.

Towering burgers smothered in cheese, turmeric, beetroot and unicorn lattes, bowls of salad that look like art, Instagram has had a huge effect on how restaurants serve their food.

As little as three years ago people wouldn’t often queue for a burger, now there are lines around the block to try the latest creation. Food has become a status symbol, and according to the latest research, restaurants need to recognise this to survive.

Recent research by Zizzi found that 18-35 year olds spend the equivalent of five whole days a year searching food on Instagram. Thirty per cent of those searching said they would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence was weak.

So is it important that the food you are prepare is Instagram ready?

In short, yes! Business insider UK reported that millennials are eating in restaurants more than any other generation. If your Instagram is not engaging or your food is not aesthetically pleasing, you could be losing out on 30 per cent of your audience.

The 2017-18 Waitrose food and drink report emphasised the Instagram trend with items such as Buddha bowls (which started on Instagram), brunch, herbs and peanut butter. All items that are colourful, popular with millennials and can make for pleasing photos.

Is it all becoming a bit style over substance?

Many new places are making sure that not only the food looks great, but the venue it is eaten in works on the social platform too. However, not everyone agrees and some chefs are even moving towards an anti-Instagram stance after feeling like their food was all style and no substance.

Portuguese chef Leandro Carreira told The Independent that his latest venture, Londrino, did not factor in Instagram when it came to designing the dining space.

“We’d never put style before substance. We want to build a neighbourhood restaurant, where people become regulars and don’t just come to tick a photo off their list”, he told them.

Some places have become Instagram hits without even trying. Take Sketch in London with its lush pink décor and eccentric egg toilets, this place was designed 15 years ago – long before any social media or decent cameras on our phones.

“The restaurant is the result of an impulse, a mindset that understands interior architecture and how it can impact on people,” a spokesperson for Sketch told The Independent.

Tips for better Instagram photos

  1. Always try to use natural lighting. Electric lighting can make images dull and yellow.
  2. Think about your plates. Simple and classic, something that frames your food without it looking lost.
  3. Rule of thirds (imagine a grid and position your image to sit within the bottom and top lines and within two of the vertical lines) or symmetry is the best way to style your images. Think about the empty space, it is not always a bad thing.
  4. Think about your background. Shooting from above looks great but shooting from the side can work if you have an interesting background.
  5. Props can be good. Include cutlery, magazines, books and plants if they add colour to the image.

Welcome to The Batch House

Inspired by artisan food and retail halls found around central Europe, such as Barcelona, Lisbon, Florence and Rome, The Batch House will provide you with the perfect place for your independent business.

The Batch House will feature a mix of bars, restaurants, start-ups, street food traders and a demo kitchen, as well as offering creative flexible space on the upper atrium floors.

Situated in Chesterfield, the Batch House is the central hub to the exciting new Glass Yard development.


The central area of The Batch House.