If Christmas is ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, then Dry January must be the least. There’s nothing in the diary to look forward to (unless you count Valentine’s Day), the weather’s dreadful, everyone’s in a foul mood and the last thing you want to be facing is the prospect of no alcohol to get you through it all. Still, you’ve got to feel for Dry January, it’s been eclipsed by Veganuary in a feat of hair-shirt one-up-manship, so maybe they should rebrand it as JanuaDry? Either way, don’t worry Dry Jan, we’ve got your back. We’ll be at least doing Damp January and recommend that if you’re also planning to limit your intake too, then these are the places you should be headed…
Swingers, no not those kinds of swingers, but London’s best-loved crazy golf bar, is the perfect place to sink some balls rather than booze this January. Take to the nine-hole course for some healthy competition as you try to navigate windmills, hills and foliage to claim top prize. Tuck into non-alcoholic cocktails such as the Refresher – a delicious blend of Earl Grey, hibiscus syrup and lemon juice and tasty street food from the likes of Pizza Pilgrims, Breddos Tacos and Patty & Bun
Perfect for an alternative date night or a dry day out with friends.
If there’s a bar that knows what it’s doing when it comes to liquor, it’s Nightjar. The secret underground bar is a chic drinking den with bona fide mixologists at it’s helm. So great are they with a cocktail shaker that they can even make booze-free tipples taste good. Tell them what you like and they’ll whip something up to suit so you can indulge guilt-free.
If you’re casting around for a reason to give up the booze, then The Lanesborough is surely all you need. Not only are its health credentials unbeatable, given it’s set in the old St George’s Hospital, but they’ve got a stunning Dry Jan offering of non-alcoholic cocktails that taste pretty damn close to the real thing. The menu comprises eight cocktails created by Head Bartender Sofiane Barthelemy which are a wholesome take on things like an Aperol Spritz, a Gin & Tonic or a Gin Fizz.
Where: Hyde Park Corner, London, SW1X 7TA, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner (0 miles)
The only London bar where the activities on offer are more exciting than the drinks, Drink Shop Do in King’s Cross has daily changing events which could see you gain a new hobby in 2020. Get crafty with classes on how to make motivational motifs (how very millennial) to naughty nipple tassel making nights (saucy) and drawing and jewellery making classes for the less adventurous. There will even be a temporary tattoo parlour popping up at the space on Wednesday 15th January if you fancy going wild without booze.
Refuelling at The Soho Hotel’s Refuel Bar & Restaurant just got easier during Dry January, thanks in no small part to their selection of non-alcoholic cocktails to see you through the month. The bar have teamed up with Seedlip to offer a selection of tasty tipples to see you through January whilst keeping to your new year resolutions.
Savage Garden (the cool Tower Hill bar, not the Australian pop-duo) are past-masters when it comes to non-alcoholic drinks. Their year-round ‘liquorless’ menu comes into its own for Dry Jan, but the bar will also be putting on a roster of non-booze related events. This January, get yourself ready for your next ski holiday (or just jump back on the fitness wagon) with their Shred Ready Yoga for Skiers and Snowboarders.
Taking place on the Alpine-inspired rooftop, Savage Garden have joined forces with The Yeh Yoga Co. to create a series of classes that will help you build legs of steel. Priced at £11.37, it’s far cheaper than a round of drinks.
The Shred Ready Yoga: Yoga for Skiers, Snowboarders classes will be taking place throughout January. Book here.
‘Spoil yourself without spoiling yourself’ is the motto at London’s vegan, sugar-free, wheat-free and alcohol-free bar. Without making it sound like it’s fun-free too, Redemption is really rather good if you don’t want to go somewhere you might be tempted to drink alcohol. These guys do Dry Jan 365 so they know exactly what they’re doing.
As well as being home to the original Mai Tai, Trader Vic’s is renowned for its non-alcoholic cocktail selection. This dry January, try their alcohol free take on their famous Mai Tai. It’s their usual mix altered to perfection. Lovers of the classic Pina Colada will also want to get their hands on the Puerto Principer, a creamy pineapple-coconut hybrid without the spirits.
If you’re well up for Dry January but can’t get on board with Veganuary, head to the Jones Family Project for a happy medium. Tuck into one of their epic steaks, but say no to the red wine and opt for one of their expertly mixed low or no alcohol cocktails instead. We love the Pink Garden which blends Ceder’s Crisp with fresh strawberry, lime and basil and topped up with ginger ale.
Trust Ella Canta to have a graceful solution to Dry January. The upmarket Mexican restaurant at the InterContinental have an array of agua frescas to choose from, ranging from the bold Hibiscus with rose petals to the tangy pre-Hispanic lemonade. The flavours are designed to sit perfectly with the food from chef Martha Ortiz’s kitchen, with unusual flavours that bring out the spirit of modern Mexico. What’s more, you can swap them with unlimited Margaritas as part of the set brunch menu.
We have raved about The American Bar at The Stafford on these pages times innumerous, but here’s yet another reason to visit. The Scoop is an alcohol-free drink that aims to be just as glamorous as its counterparts, if not half the people sat around you in the bar. Combining Seedlip (can’t escape ’em) with coconut water, aloe-vera, cucumber and mint, it’s a refreshing and detoxing (we need more of this) solution to all your Christmas over-indulgence.
Where: 16-18 St James's Place, Mayfair, London, SW1A 1NJ, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Green Park (0.2 miles)
Ladies & Gentleman
Willow, the first alcohol-free spirit to contain CBD, is taking over London’s poshest dive bar (if that’s a thing) from Friday 10th to Friday 31st January, offering Londoners a chill AF approach to the year’s worst month. The bar in question is Ladies & Gentleman and it will be serving exclusively low and no alcohol drinks during this period so there’s really no excuse not to get on board.
Expect delights such as the Willow Spritz – a refreshing combination of Willow, elderflower cordial, soda and lemon; the Willow Flip – a frothy mix of Willow, sugar syrup and vegan foaming bitters (how very 2020); and the Let’s Get Fizzical- a twist on the French 75.
Soho nights don’t need to be fuelled with liquor. Head to the Old Compton Brasserie to find PG-rated tipples by low ABV brand Woodstar. They’ll be serving up the berry, botanical and cocoa blended cocktails all month with no hangover the next day.
If December is the month for retail, January is without a doubt the month for Seedlip – they are popping up in just about every London drinking den. To Shoreditch’s Nobu hotel and its bar where the mixologists have created nine non-alcoholic drinks with the stuff. We like the sound of The Acer – an Asian-inspired mix of Seedlip Spice, lapsang smoked mapel, and ginger ale.
Singing karaoke may fill you with dread when there’s no alcohol involved but make January the month to throw caution to the wind and get stuck in. Lucky Voice, Londons’ top karaoke bar, offers a wide selection of non-alcoholic cocktails and booths so soundproof you and your friends can sing to your heart’s content, no shame necessary.