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Where to drink when you’re not drinking

Designated driver, taking part in Sober October, or just on a hiatus from the hard stuff? Try these 7 brilliant bars near you for marvellous mocktails.

Even for the hardiest of boozehounds, these days a night off the sauce is pretty standard. If you’re just not in the mood for a two-day hangover, then check out these brilliant local hangouts for a booze-free bender.

Dirty Bones, Oxford

Dirty Bones Oxford

If you’re after a booze-free option to wash down your fried chicken (finger-licking doesn’t even begin to cover it), then hotfoot it to the sleek and stylish Dirty Bones on Westgate’s Roof Terrace. Not only do they have some lip-smacking mocktails and a 0.4% Brooklyn lager available, but you can mix it up with their American-style sodas and milkshakes to die for.

The Apple Tree, Gerrards Cross

The Apple Tree, Gerrards Cross

If you haven’t visited already, The Apple Tree in Gerrards Cross is the perfect locale to nurse a posh lime and soda with fresh mint and sour lime, or a spicy Caribbean mule made with sweet pineapple or juicy watermelon. The vibe is family-friendly, and the menu is such an eclectic mix of cuisines that you’ll want to keep coming back to try it all.

Crazy Bear, Beaconsfield and Stadhampton

Crazy Bear, Beaconsfield and Stadhampton

No cocktail roundup would be complete without The Crazy Bear – where else can you sip your drink on a velvet clawfoot sofa under the watchful eye of a faux stuffed zebra or giraffe? Best of all, it has a great selection of mouthwatering mocktails that’ll make you forget all about its alcoholic alternatives – the Thai-inspired tipples (including Thai Ginger Limeade and Jasmine Tea Mojito) sound particularly delicious. It’s a slightly bonkers/luxe hangout with prices to match, a proper treat.

The Botanist, Marlow

The Botanist, Marlow

The mixology maestros at The Botanist in Marlow are always cooking up imaginative new tinctures so really it should be no surprise that they offer some solid alcohol-free options. As well as eight beers clocking in at under 3% ABV, they offer non-alcoholic versions of some of their signature cocktails that’ll take care of any boozy hankerings you might have. Combine with a mix and match deli boards (wedge of garlic bread definitely not optional) and you have a fabulous evening in the works.

The House, Oxford

The House, Oxford

It’s easy to miss The House, squirrelled away down Blue Boar Street near to Christchurch College – but once you know the entrance, it’s impossible to pass up popping in for a quick sip. It’s a buzzy little venue with a games room (that you can hire out, FYI) and an outdoor terrace that you can enjoy when the weather isn’t quite so dire, but it’s the cocktails that you’ll want to visit for. The mocktail selection here is fun and inventive, so you’re sure to find something to whet your whistle. We’re grabbing a Cotswold Detox, which is cranberry and apple juice shaken with fresh rosemary, thyme syrup and lime.

Blossom Room, Milton Keynes

MK Insta-fodder The Blossom Room is a primo spot for drinks and nibbles, whether or not you’re getting sozzled or staying saintly. Firstly, that incredible blossom tree ceiling is enough of a draw to get you through the door, and then the huge cocktail list will keep you barside. We’re intrigued by the Non-Cosmopolitan – any classic made with non-alcoholic vodka is worth investigating. An ideal after-theatre spot if you’re playing designated driver.

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