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Alcohol Free Bar To Open In NQ

The Umbrella Café is to serve mocktails and stay sober on Dale Street.

Written by . Published on September 5th 2014.

Alcohol Free Bar To Open In NQ

THE NORTHERN QUARTER is to squeeze in yet another bar offering - but this one's different.

There shall be NO alcohol.

You can almost hear the collective sound of shattering cocktail glasses from the city's legions of ‘mixologists’ (that's bartender to you and me).

"It’s nice to go to a place that’s not going to turn nasty and just have fun without all the added chemical ingredients.”

From Friday 5 September, The Umbrella Café is bringing Manchester’s first ‘dry bar’ to the Nexus Art Café on Dale Street. Open from 7pm until 11pm, the plan is to dial down the weekend’s hedonism but remain a viable social option for Friday and Saturday nights out.

Although dry, you’re not to be left thirsty and the café is to serve mocktails such as virgin apple mojitos and an elderflower spritz alongside a full entertainment schedule.

The Umbrella Café was developed by trio Helen Marlarky, Michaela Jones and Deb Drinkwater who felt the Northern Quarter, although brimming with cafes, lacked a sober and social alternative to all the speakeasys and tiki bars.

Art CafeThe Umbrella Café is based within the Nexus Art Cafe on Dale Street

Co-director, Micheala Jones, believes The Umbrella Café will be a safe place for people with a history of substance and alcohol abuse:

“I’m a person in recovery from alcohol addiction and haven’t touched alcohol for the last six years. There’s lots of people like us across Greater Manchester and we all have the same desire to go out and do all the things everyone else does, but in an environment that we felt would be safe for us.

"What’s been interesting for us has been the amount of people not recovering from a drug or alcohol problem who've said they'd like to come along. I think it was John Thomson (Cold Feet actor, former alcoholic and patron of the new bar) who said 'it’s nice to go to a place that’s not going to turn nasty and just have fun with out all the added chemical ingredients'."

It’s a novel idea and will be the first bar of its kind in Manchester, following in the footsteps of alcohol-free bar and restaurants The Brink in Liverpool and Sobar in Nottingham.

So how does The Umbrella Café intend to remain social without the booze?

Jones explained: "We’ve got everything from DJs, singers, bands, comedy and we’ve got a play about heroin addiction – quite a heavy evening but really interesting. Also there's chill-out nights on Fridays where you can pop in and just hang out.

"We've got mocktails designed by our own mocktail maker and you’ve got your usual teas and coffees. We wanted to provide an alternative to coke or tonic with lime – which is all very nice but you just get sick of it after a while."

"The Umbrella Café is just like everywhere else – but without the alcohol. We’re not against people who enjoy alcohol by any means, we just want to create a space for people who really don’t want that lifestyle and reclaim a bit of Manchester.

"I'm excited to be going out after 10pm, although I don't drink I still want to feel part of things, especially in the Northern Quarter which is always jumping."

John Thomson is the bar's patronJohn Thomson is the bar's patron

Find out more about The Umbrella Café on their website.

(Main image by Eleanor_P)

Nexus Art Cafe, 2 Dale St, Manchester M1 1JW

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

Good addition to the NQ. I think it'll do well, providing its not £7 for a mocktail that is!

1 Response: Reply To This...
SAZKSeptember 7th 2014.

Yes hope it's reasonably priced. I like a drink but sometimes feel like I'm drinking for the sake of it because there's a lack of other options. I don't always want to go for coffee, besides which most coffee shops aren't open late, so I really like the idea of this

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

Great idea. I wish them all the best.

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

Is this actually a separate bar or a nightly rebrand of Nexus Art Cafe?

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