Where to drink when you’re going alcohol free
Designated driver, taking part in Dry January, or just on a hiatus from the hard stuff? Try these 9 local bars with enticing no or low booze options, but still with maximum glam
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.
This chic little cocktail spot has fabulously decadent decor so you don’t need to stint on the style just because you’re not on the hard stuff. There are two seating areas so you can prop up the bar or opt for the more intimate table seating at the other end. There’s low alcohol options such as Peach and Plum Spritz with peach bitters, umeshu plum sake and kombucha – so arguably it’s actually good for you?! Or you can go for the angelic options such as the fruity Popstar Martini, with vanilla, passionfruit, pineapple and lemon.
New bar klaxon! Not only do we adore the name of this bar, but it’s got its own spirit, Folly Gin, with the town’s quirky tower as its namesake. Among the hundreds of gins, whiskies and vodkas are a load of low and no alcohol spirits including six abstemious gins from the likes of Seedlip, Salcombe Gin and Caleno. If you’re dodging late nights as well as booze, you could opt for the afternoon G&Tea and couple your mocktails with scones, finger sandwiches and cake. Pinkies out, darlings!
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.
This jazz lounge and cocktail bar has a short but sweet mocktail list including the Exquisite No.12, its heady mix of coconut syrup, sweet and sour mix, pineapple juice and orange juice. It also has a decent selection of tonics and presses alongside the bar food menu including charcuterie and cheese boards. Hey, who needs the vino? Brunch is also big here, as are the flavoured whipped coffees… oh la la!
If you haven’t visited already, The Apple Tree in Gerrards Cross is a peachy spot 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.
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 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.
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.