Study after study tells us that, despite the occasional glamour of a Hemingway or Kerouac, the most creative drug of choice is caffeine. And if you can combine that caffeine with good, freshly prepared locally sourced food and fruity fruity mocktails in a colourful, welcoming atmosphere, then you can expect a creative explosion!
Sobar, on Friar Lane, is the East Midlands’s first alcohol-free bar and the work of Double Impact, a city-based drug and alcohol recovery charity. It opens to the public on Monday 27 January. The aim of the Sobar is to provide recognition and support for people in recovery from alcohol or drug abuse – not to stigmatise or exclude people – to provide a safe welcoming space for people. But there’s more to it than that. It’s there for everyone. There are 450 alcohol-based bars in the city and for anyone who doesn’t fancy a drink – for whatever reason – the options in the city centre are limited, especially in the evening. This aims to change all that.
That hasn’t stopped the local media from making a bit of fuss about it. “Would you go to a non-alcohol bar?” they ask, as if we’re incapable of having fun without beer. Get over it people, Starbucks manage.
Anyway, Sobar will open at 8am each morning, ready for breakfast and will be there for your brunch, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea and/ or evening dinner needs. They do takeaways so you can dash in and grab something on your way to the office.
Creative Nottingham was lucky enough to be at the launch event of the Sobar on Thursday night. (Adamski was playing. Adamski, people! Get your old 80s rave gear out! Glo-sticks, glo-sticks!)
So what’s it like? Well, it’s in the old Nottingham Building Society building and has creatively adapted the space – the old vault is now a store cupboard behind the bar – it’s colourful, with high ceilings, comfy booth and table seating and affordable art on the walls. They also – and here’s something to warm my heart – have a range of second hand books available for swapsies on the windowsill. So far so good. Did I mention there’s free wifi?
So we thought we’d better do you all a favour and test out the menu. (It’s a hard life) Here’s the first piece of good news for the Sobar – in two hours I had three drinks. That’s a lot more than I’d drink in two hours if I was on the booze. (I’m a lightweight, I admit it) There’s a great range of soft drinks – cordials, smoothies, juices, – and hot drinks – all pretty tempting. And the food. Well, what can I say? It was TASTY. We were offered small canape-type things, but all were delicious, well seasoned and quite obviously freshly prepared. And the chocolate brownie slices were to die for. Seriously.
They’re also offering a series of events and performances from local creatives, and want to encourage bands, comedians, poetry readings, that kind of thing. The alcohol-free setting makes it especially good for young people who are interested in trying out some material and performing it in a public space. So for me, it’s got it all – a great atmosphere, good food, quaffable coffee and wifi. If that sounds like your thing, I’d urge you to get over there and try it out too.
Sobar will be open 8am-11pm from tomorrow, 27 January. For more details contact them on Facebook.