'There is no alternative right now': Montreal bar that doesn't serve alcohol to open in July

Co-owner Isabel Tames decided to open Mindful Bar, a no-alcohol bar in Montreal to create a space for those who wanted to have fun sober night out.

Montrealers who quit drinking say they want casual space to have fun sober night out

Isabel Tames and her partner Diego Bayancela decided to open a non-alcohol bar in Montreal after realizing there were not many options for a fun, sober night out. (Submitted by Isabel Tames)

Two years ago, when Montrealer Isabel Tames quit drinking, her social life was upended.

She loved to go dancing, but suddenly, stone cold sober, she realized how uncomfortable it was to be stuck with people who were way too drunk, loud and pushy.

"I ended up leaving places too early — and I started looking for options," Tames told Daybreak Montreal's host Ainslie MacLellan.

Despite searching far and wide for after-hour joints that would let her have fun while staying sober, she had little luck finding a venue. 

What she did find, however, was a community of people who were looking for a similar space where they could enjoy the casual, rambunctious, fun atmosphere of going out to a bar, without the alcohol.

"It can be uncomfortable for people who don't drink. But even for people who drink moderately at some point of the night when people are too drunk, it can be very invasive." Tames said.

That's when she and her partner, Diego Bayancela, decided to create a space for those who wanted to have fun in a no-alcohol environment, and open a bar without a drop of alcohol here in Montreal.

"We were like, 'Let's do this.' It could be very beneficial for so many people."

Proper drinks, not watery fruit juice

The Mindful Bar, which is set to open in July, will serve mocktails and alcohol-free beers and wine.

But she says the drinks won't be like the watery fruit juice you might think of when you hear the word "mocktail."

"We want to focus on the fun part of the bar, that is, actually having a nice drink."

She says her bar will use herb-infused syrups to enhance flavour, and hire mixologists to create non-alcoholic drinks worthy of a good night out.

Ultimately, Tames says she hopes her bar will become an alternative for those who need a fun night out without being intoxicated. 

"There is no alternative right now. There are many prevention measures for not drinking, but there's not really an option for people who don't drink." Tames said. 

With files from Daybreak Montreal


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