What exactly makes a bar what it is? Is it being a place where people could order food or drinks? Or is it providing a space for hanging out? Does it have to do with the music, ambiance, crowded and noisy atmosphere? Or is it really about the booze?

Your perspective on this might likely shape your opinion on the new trend that is beginning to make waves in some major cities of the world: Non-alcoholic bars.

Whilst we haven’t heard of any yet in existence here in Nigeria, we would like to still give it a thought. How much of a worthy project is it to set up a bar that doesn’t serve anything boozy?

One of such bars is Listen Bar, located in New York City. Listen Bar is a 100% booze-free bar that is open only one night per month. It was opened in October 2018, after founder Lorelei Bandrovschi, 32, began organising alcohol-free pop-up events under the name. According to the story on their official website, “A friend dared founder Lorelei Bandrovschi to spend a month without drinking. Surprised with how much she enjoyed it, she also noticed the lack of nightlife options that weren’t centered around drinking.” So she “set upon her new mission.”

According to an article on BBC.com, Bandrovschi believes that “Bars are a space of relaxation, and we’ve been made to believe that alcohol has to be a part of that. It’s really liberating to create space for yourself and your life where a rowdy party vibe doesn’t mean a hangover and blurry memories.”

In the article, she recounts, “There’ve been moments at our first Williamsburg pop-ups where people are dancing on tables and karaoke-ing their hearts out. Being good to yourself doesn’t mean only being zen and subdued.”

An Imbibe article on Listen Bar quotes her to have said the following:

“One of my big hangups getting booze-free drinks in bars where that’s not the target market is that you feel like you’ve been placated with a drink that might be decent but typically not good enough to have two. I wanted to have drinks that people would get excited about and feel satisfied.”

Last year, she published an article on Medium, titled “7 Reasons Why I’m Opening a Bar with No Alcohol”. In the article, she makes the following argument:

“Whenever you choose to go out and skip drinking, even for one night, it’s kind of you-against-the-world. The bars want you to drink. The bartenders want you to drink. The other people there want you to drink… It’s hard to even realize when you’re drinking by choice and when by habit if you never have a chance to step outside of the typical bar scene.”

“One of my life mottos is, “If you’re not having a good enough time, dance harder.” Don’t like the music? Dance harder. Don’t know anybody? Dance harder. Worried you’re dancing too hard? Dance harder. And yes — feel like you need a drink? Dance. Harder… And whatever your own “Dance Harder” is — it can be a bigger confidence boost than the drink you just skipped.”

“But why shouldn’t you have places where the not-drinkers’ experience is the star, not the side-dish?”

What do you think? Does she have a point? Is it strong enough to give the non-alcoholic bar option a good business chance? Would you like to see something like that in Nigeria?

Featured image courtesy of Listen Bar