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Dublin’s first alcohol-free bar gears up for launch

Published:  11 February, 2019

Dublin's first alcohol-free bar is set to open later this month, with plans to export the concept to the UK if the brand proves successful.

The Virgin Mary Bar is the latest collaboration from drinks consultants Oisin Davis and Vaughan Yates, who were responsible for the creation of the Poacher's range of Irish-made mixers. It will open its doors on Capel Street in Dublin in mid-February

The duo said it was establishing The Virgin Mary with the intention of creating a branded concept that it could take to other locations both in Ireland and abroad.

“The UK definitely has lots of appeal to us as products like Seedlip are making such good strides there and fundamentally changing people's attitudes towards the non-alcohol movement,” said founder Davis.

“The premises itself is tiny, with a capacity of just 30. This means that we will have a very focused menu of about eight cocktails, four beers and a couple of wines. Our bar manager Anna Walsh has a strong cocktail background. She has found great ways to use these spirits and wines in her mixed drinks.”

Citing the rise of 'abstinence culture' as a key factor in his decision to invest in the concept, Davis also believed that rising levels of migration to Dublin and multiculturalism would ensure that the bar is a success.

“There are definitely more people today who choose to regularly abstain and are more mindful of their imbibing,” said Davis.

“We also have a far more international population than 10 years ago and a lot of these people simply don't drink at all or don't drink as much as local Irish.”

The Virgin Mary will join a growing firmament of alcohol-free bars, including London's Redemption chain and Listen Bar in New York. However, in 2015 entrepreneur Grady Elliot opened Auckland's first dry bar, Tap, in New Zealand – it closed after only five weeks of trading.

"We gave it a shot and Auckland drinking culture just didn't tie in with the dry bar. No one showed up,” said Elliot.