The Virgin Mary Bar is opening in Dublin tonight to help make sober nights out in the capital a bit more craic.
The Virgin Mary, which is set to open on Capel Street, is Ireland's first permanent non-alcoholic bar. Promising all the buzz and fun of a regular bar (minus the booze), the bar is the brainchild of Oisín Davis (FOOD&WINE contributor!) and Vaughn Yates, who are the founders of Poacher’s Irish mixers.
The two came up with the idea for the bar when they realised that if you don’t want to go to a pub, the only place you can head along to after 4pm are coffee shops. As Ireland’s alcohol purchases have decreased in recent years, it looks as though the nation is moving a towards a more teetotal lifestyle – meaning that a sober bar could be just what the capital needs.
Speaking to us about The Virgin Mary Bar, Oisín told us a bit more about why he and Vaughn decided a non-alcoholic bar would work in Dublin:
"There is a demand for a space in Dublin where people can socialise in the evening without being confronted by alcohol. It also means that there are more options than just multinational cafés that totally lack atmosphere. We're creating a space that looks like a bar, tastes like a bar and feels like a bar, but with no alcohol.
I travel a lot and have seen great alcohol free spaces abroad, so I think that Dublin is ready for this bar. The younger generation isn't abstaining from alcohol, but there is more awareness about alcohol and they're definitely not drinking as much as people used to. I also think that the older generation has become more aware of their alcohol intake and maybe they're cutting down a little too. Why shouldn't they all have an alternative place to go out and meet friends? People need more options than just a pub."
Oisín and Vaughn have brought on former MVP bartender Anna Walsh, who won the title of World Class Irish Bartender of the Year 2015, to helm the bar. Anna’s bar menu will showcase a variety of alcohol-free cocktails, including ‘Dessert Anyone?’ which is made from oat milk, tahini and dates, and Oisín's favourite 'Tiki Street'. The Polynesian-inspired cocktail (pictured above) is made from hibiscus-infused de-alcoholised red wine, pomegranate molasses and lime juice with a sprinkle of black cardamom on the top – sounds delicious to us!
Alongside the cocktail menu, there will be a wide selection of alcohol-free beers and spirits from around the world, including Ireland’s own non-alcoholic Silk Tree distilled spirit. The bar is named for the classic Bloody Mary cocktail and a virgin version made with freshly pressed vegetable juices, a Dublin made hot sauce and spicy infusions will be the bar’s signature drink.
The bar will be open from 4pm-11pm daily, so keep an eye on the @thevirginmarybar on Instagram for updates!
Read more: Oisín Davis' winter warmer cocktails
*Originally published January 2019.