Redemption: Sip a mocktail and take in the view at London's newest pop-up booze-free bar
PUBLISHED: 18:32 09 August 2013 | UPDATED: 13:06 12 August 2013
My colleagues are looking at me with a mix of confusion and suspicion. "Why on earth would you do that?" they ask.
I’ve just told them I’m going to a bar that serves no alcohol. Yep, no wine, no beer and no spirits.
The bar is Redemption, a new alcohol-free movement open on Sundays until August 18 on the fantastic roof terrace of Netil House, in Hackney, before transferring to a permanent residency in Ladbroke Grove next month.
Instead of alcohol, visitors can enjoy a range of mocktails, healthy vegetarian dishes and laid-back tunes while taking in some pretty impressive views across the capital.
The mocktails range from coconut water and berry infused ‘martinis’ to mint and lime mock-jitos, while the dishes, made with locally sourced ingredients, include raw courgette spaghetti and Mexican-style bean-filled tortillas.
Redemption founder and owner Catherine Salway says she wanted to create something that felt like a bar, but without the temptation of alcohol.
“It’s not about being anti-alcohol,” the 39-year-old explains. “I drink. But I think it’s important that there is an alternative out there for when you want a break from booze.
“You can go to a cafe during the day, but in the evening it’s very hard to find anywhere to meet friends that doesn’t serve alcohol. Yes you can go to a normal bar and not drink any alcohol, but it can be difficult to say no when it’s all around you.”
When I mention my colleagues’ reaction at the suggestion of a booze-less bar she smiles: “Alcohol is so ingrained in our culture. If it’s cold and rainy we think, ‘Let’s have some red wine’, if it’s sunny we have a rose, if we want to celebrate we get out the champagne.
“So yes it might take some a while to get used to the idea, but people are becoming a lot more health conscious these days. I really think there is a market for something like this.”
During my visit to Redemption on Sunday, I spot three friends lazing on beanbags, mocktails in hand, and ask why they decided to try the place out.
“I thought it sounded great,” says Manjot Bhatia, 27. “Sometimes you just want a night out without alcohol - especially when you have work the next day - but still want somewhere with atmosphere. Redemption definitely has that.”
Chris Lazarou, 30, adds: “I like the fact you feel no pressure to buy any alcohol. When I’m in a normal bar I can feel like I have to explain myself when I buy a soft drink. Here I don’t.
“Plus its such a lovely place, and the mocktails taste fantastic.”
Redemption, at Netil House, 1 Westgate Street, is open from 11am to 10pm. The Ladbroke Grove residency will launch within Goldfinger Factory, a new furniture upcycling social enterprise, in Golbourne Road on September 8.
The team will also be running a stall at the Notting Hill Carnival on August 25 and 26, offering vegan Rastafarian style energy bites.