While it may seem like sacrilege to some, Melbourne is set to become home to the first dedicated non-alcoholic bar in Australia – the Brunswick Aces Bar.
Masterminded by the same team behind the city’s Brunswick Aces, an increasingly popular local gin label, the bar will be a permanent 150-capacity venue on Weston Street in Brunswick East.
Opening in late April it’s a rather sharp response to recent research which has shown a sustained reduction in alcohol intake by Aussies, with many opting for moderation as opposed to the usual go-hard-or-go-home approach that is often crudely typified as ‘Aussie Culture’.
The aim of The Brunswick Aces Bar is to help normalise the idea of drinking in moderation, offering a dedicated space for the sober amongst us to enjoy an extensive list of bespoke drinks and cocktails from a menu that lists a range of 0% alcohol premium beers and wines from around the world, while also featuring takes on cocktails like the negroni, espresso martini, tom collins, and a gin-and-tonic. I’m guessing that last one will make use of Brunswick Aces Spaces Sapiir or Brunswick Ace Hearts Sapiir – both 0% alcohol gin alternatives from the Melbourne distillery.
Brunswick Aces Distillery CEO and Founder Stephen Lawrence is promising “not a fruit juice mocktail in sight” for the bar, given that it’s designed entirely to bring a new perspective on this growing trend, while also getting ahead of what appears to be a growing movement within the industry.
Not many details have been revealed about what the space will actually look like, but a press release sent to media indicates that the bar is currently being fitted out with distillery equipment and an open-design which will give guests a “front row seat” to watch to operation to watch bottles of that aforementioned gin-alternative, sapiir, being made on-site.
Although the focus is very much on the non-drinking market, the bar will feature just one alcoholic drink: a gin and tonic created using the brand’s two Brunswick Aces Spades Gin and Brunswick Aces Hearts Gin blends.
The team already hope to expand the non-alcoholic bar format into Australia’s other state capitals, but for now, it remains to be seen just how well the concept is received in Melbourne. We’ll find out late April.
Update (01/03/21): Since publishing this article I’ve been made aware that Australia’s first non-alcoholic bar was actually opened just a few months ago, in Sydney. Manly’s Apples stakes that claim, with 0% alcohol cocktails, Seedlip tasting paddles, and kombucha.