A bold attempt to set up a fun, mid-city bar – catering for people who prefer not to be confronted with alcoholic options every time they want to meet for a drink – has closed down because nobody turned up.
The experiment took place in Auckland, New Zealand. Tap Bar, New Zealand’s first alcohol-free bar, kept its doors open courageously for five weeks, despite lack of patronage. The doors have now shut on the premises in Auckland’s groovy Karangahape Road, known to many as K Road.
Co-owner Grady Elliott told the New Zealand Herald he now plans to apply for a liquor licence and will relaunch as a nightclub.
“We gave it a shot and Auckland drinking culture just didn’t tie in with the dry bar,” he told the paper, adding with commendable honesty: “No one showed up”.
Tap Bar opened at midnight, when a fair few partygoers might prefer to drink something other than fruit juice. It also charged a fee of NZD 15 for entry. Drink prices (all non-alcoholic) started at NZD 5.
Elliott said the few customers who wandered into the bar tended to opt for water.
In a memorable turn of phrase, he told the paper: “We took it by the balls and gave it a punt.”
It didn’t work, but maybe the establishment will take off as a licensed nightclub.
London, meanwhile, has opened an alcohol-free bar called Redemption. The London market is much bigger, but if patrons opt for water, that may not help. Watch this space.
Written by Peter Needham