Here are a few suggestions of places to quench your thirst without touching a drop of alcohol. Going dry isn’t only a delicious possibility at these spots — it can also be a lot of fun.
Where: Mondrian London at The Sea Containers, Blackfriars
Great for: Mocktails
Award-winning drinksmith Ryan Chetiyawardana and his team (the talent behind experimental Hoxton hotspot White Lyan) work their magic at Dandelyan at the Mondrian London. This swanky sibling is housed in a hotel on South Bank, offering some some killer riverside views with an interior showcasing purple pastel banquettes, bold racing greens, and a heavy Art Deco accent.
What to drink: The mocktail list is small but mighty, and explores the relationship between mankind and modern botany. We’d suggest sipping on The Bradsell, so-named for the legendary late Dick Bradsell, creator of the world famous espresso martini. It forms a fitting homage with a base of cold brew Square Mile coffee, slightly sweetened with malt syrup, and livened with chai spices.
Where: Old Street, Notting Hill
Great for: Mocktails, tea, coffee
The last word in keeping a clear head is Redemption Bar, a carefully curated space for people who truly want a night off from the hooch. The menu features refreshingly fruity concoctions dressed up as cocktails, stacks of heathy vegan and gluten-free fare, and absolutely no alcohol whatsoever. Exuding a whitewashed elegance, with a quaint courtyard for basking in the sun, it’s a much welcome retreat in the heart of booze-soaked Shoreditch. There’s a branch just a 10 minute walk from Notting Hill Gate too.
What to drink: The biggest hit here is undoubtedly the Frocorita, an elixir of coconut water, fresh lime and a touch of agave syrup mixed up into a mock margarita. Complete with a salt-rimmed glass, you can trick yourself into thinking you’re drinking the real thing.
Drake and Morgan
Where: King’s Cross, Canary Wharf, Farringdon, St Paul's, Southwark, Warren Street, Liverpool St, Bank, and Heathrow Terminal 4
Great for: Syrups and sodas, iced teas, freshly made juices, mocktails
With classy branches dotted all over the capital, the City-worker magnet is dedicated to offering a host of other stuff besides the sauce. A no-nonsense, zero-proof cocktail menu launches across all sites on Monday 5 September, alongside an array of made-to-order soft serves, teas, and flavoured fizzy waters.
What to drink: The Spiced Orchid Sour featuring Seedlip, a non-alcoholic spirit substitute. The strong botanical notes of clove and spice, sweetened with apple and coupled with the the frothy foam of shaken egg white gives it the texture and flavour of a real cocktail.
Cocktail Trading Company
Where: Shoreditch High Street
Great for: Bespoke mocktails
A full on funhouse situated just around the corner from Shoreditch High Street station and opposite arty powerhouse Rich Mix, The Cocktail Trading Co. is packed with creative concoctions, all the monkey nuts you can eat (seriously, someone please take them away from us), and a wicked playlist where you find yourself saying ‘aaawwwww yeeeeah’ out loud to pretty much every other song.
Opened by a trio of award-winning bartenders (Andy Mill, Olly Branding, and Elliot Ball), expect the traditional East End boozer brick-and-barstool aesthetic with a subtle dose of British tongue-in-cheek charm.
What to drink: Rest assured if you’re abstaining, you’re not missing out. The highly experienced and passionate team do some incredible mocktails off the cuff, and have a secret arsenal of off-menu low-ABV tipples, which is good to know if you’re having a cheat day. All you have to do is ask.
Where: Old Street
Great for: Bespoke mocktails
A beautiful wood panelled and mirrored date-spot, with an emphasis on live music, this award winning venue is known to just about every discerning drinker in the land. Ranked among the best basement speakeasy bars, it’s a consistent high-hitter on the ‘World’s Best Bars’ list, being a subterranean retreat nestled underneath the hipster clash on the streets of Shoreditch above. Sheer Bliss.
What to drink: While the venue serves incredible cocktails, it won't leave teetotallers in the shade, with the Bartender's Choice. Simply explain your preferred flavour profile, favourite fruits, depth and dryness and the team will put their heads together to create you the perfect, non-alcoholic drink.
The Tea Bar at T2
Where: Regent Street Store, Selfridges pop-up
Great for: Literally all the tea in the world. And bespoke Chai.
Instead of having a cheeky glass of wine at lunchtime, explore this vast tea library of over 200 varieties of leaves and fruit tisanes to get your inner mixologist working. You could spend an age in here and never get bored of the whirlwind of flavours.
You can either swing by the Regent Street branch and pick up a piping hot tea to go, or head to Selfridges which boasts a one-of-a-kind DIY Chai bar, dispensing exotic spices (and joy). Originally intended for a month long stint in July, it’s been so popular that the concept has been renewed and will return in October, running right up until after Christmas.
Got a flask from T2? Take advantage of their ‘Fill up Fridays’, where you can get any brew you desire on the house from any store.
What to drink: Everything. Right now they have a limited edition selection of teas that taste EXACTLY like cakes. Go for that before they’re gone for good. Alternatively, just go have your fill of the Chai.
Granger & Co
Where: Kings Cross, Clerkenwell, Notting Hill
Great for: Juice, ‘power smoothies’, tea, coffee, homemade sodas
This Antipodean ex-pat favourite proves that despite their beer bravado and New World wine culture, the Aussies are leading the charge when it comes to healthy alternatives. Case in point — the beautiful list of non-intoxicating goodies to be had at this all day brunch spot. Bright and airy, it’s a slice of sunny Sydney in (let’s face it, pretty grey) London, cooking up international cuisine with a heavy modern Australasian edge. Swathes of people queue out of the door on a daily basis.
What to drink: It’s hard to pin down just one, with everything from homemade hibiscus and lime soda to iced oolong tea gracing the menu. Right now we’re enamoured with the Protein Power smoothie made with home-made almond milk, banana, date, mac powder and pea protein.
Where: Earlsfield, Battersea
Great for: Tea, Instagram-able iced coffee, mocktails, smoothies, shakes, juices
Another establishment influenced by goings on Down Under is lively neighbourhood-styled brunch spot Ben’s, which serves up some truly indulgent foodstuffs. Lip smacking duck nuggets, the awesome sounding DIY Doughnuts, and one of the most drool-worthy brunch menus outside of the Southern Hemisphere are just some of the many reasons to venture outside of zone one for a visit.
What to drink: While Ben’s is still pretty boozy, it brings a pretty strong game when it comes to soft drink options — not to mention that people lose their minds over the Aussie Iced Coffee, a blend of coffee, milk, ice cream and Milo - that’s chocolate malt, to us poms.
Where: Tottenham Court Road
Great for: Cold drip coffee, juices, shots (not of spirits, clearly), smoothies, matcha
Teeny tiny and packed full of the good stuff, it’s a piece of paradise for anyone going gluten- and dairy-free, and in desperate need of a pit stop. A somewhat spiritual space, the living moss wall behind the counter and the foliage filled canopy bring a little bit of green back into in the urban jungle.
What to drink: Go for the ’too-good-to-be-true’ Brain Mylk loaded with walnuts, dates, and a whole load of other stuff we can’t even spell. It tastes so much like a packetful of blended Oreos, we’ve dubbed this the ’faux-reo’, which is a far more appropriate name. Damn it’s good.
Where: Blackfriars/St Paul’s
Great for: Cold pressed juice, smoothies
This town is brimming with blink-and-you-might-miss-it health-focused hideaways, and Shot is one of our underrated favourites. Utterly transparent about everything they dish up, with additional informative blurbs on the benefits of what you’re opting to put in your body. Clean, straightforward, and unbelievably tasty, this is definitely a destination for your detoxing hitlist.
What to drink: The pear, kale, cucumber — refreshing, yet sweet and a tad spicy with a zing of ginger and a zesty hit of lemon. Said to be good for bones and fatigue.
Where: South Kensington
Great for: Nut milk, smoothies, lattes, hot tonics, tea, infused water, cold pressed juice, coffee, reishi hot chocolate, pretending you’re a squirrel
Bursting with colourful, natural produce and set in a wood-clad wonderland, Squirrel is a haven for health nuts, if you’ll pardon the pun. Innovative and fun, the venture embraces exciting new trends, such as the explosion of turmeric lattes across the pond. Diners can enjoy the view from the whimsical, childlike ‘treehouse’ while chomping on well balanced, nutritional meals and snacks.
What to drink: Honestly, we’d go with the infused waters. Refreshing, low calorie, and patrons are granted unlimited refills. Besides, where else can you channel your inner Beyonce and have your fill of guilt free liquid lemon and Cayenne (just make sure you eat something too, OK?).