Things To Do
Five of the best bars to enjoy an alcohol-free drink at in Manchester this Dry January
Dry Jan doesn't have to be sitting in and counting down the days or quitting good vibes at the boozer.
Listen, quite of a few us here at The Manc are giving Dry January a go again this year and if there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s that it isn’t always the alcohol that we miss but more the feeling of sitting around a bar with your mates, drink in hand and talking rubbish, not a care in the world.
These days, alcohol-free stuff is getting pretty good and if you’re having a good enough time chatting away with you and yours, be it your partner, a loved one, your bestie or otherwise, you’ll be surprised how quickly you forget there’s you’re gulping down a zero or low-alcohol alternative.
Whether it’s a wheaty bottle of Erdinger, a cold pint of Lucky Saint, a fruity mocktail or even a crisp 0% gin and tonic, they all quench your thirst just as good as the real thing, only without any damage to your health and without the hangover the next morning.
We’re not going to pretend we don’t love a few beers at the weekend or a vino after a long day, but Dry Jan is a positive challenge we can all get behind and it doesn’t have to mean staying in, less socialising or saying bye to the pub — so here’s five bars that do alcohol-free or low percentage booze really well.
Five zero-percent and alcohol-free friendly bars in Manchester
1. Love From
We’re kicking off the list with one of Manchester’s leading zero-percent pioneers, Love From, which is returning to Kampus once again. Social, event-based alcohol-free drinking: the sequel.
After starting out here as a pop-up back in October 2023 in the elevated room slap-bang in the middle of the thriving urban neighbourhood, creator and host of the What Next podcast, Karl Considine, is bringing the zero-alcohol bar concept back to the canalside hotspot until March.
With special events like tasting masterclasses, arts workshops, educational series and sessions where guests are invited to share their own stories surrounding sobriety and experiences with alcohol, it won’t be long before this alcohol-free bar finds a permanent and we wouldn’t be surprised if it stays right here.
2. Feel Good Club
Next up is a place that’s been at the forefront of wellbeing culture in the region since it first opened in 2020, came back fighting after an unfortunate break-in and has been serving up Mancs, healthy food, non-alcoholic bevs that will knock your socks off and nothing but good vibes ever since.
Located just on the corner of Hilton Street in the Northern Quarter, where it’s fair to say you’ll find some of Manchester’s very best pubs and bars, the regular crowds and easily enticed newcomers Feel Good Club pulls in will never make you feel like you’re missing out or should have wandered in elsewhere.
You can come in here for a tipple if you want but, honestly, there’s nothing like enjoying something off their all-day lunch and brunch menu followed by a ‘sober dolly’, ‘sober elton’ or one of their regularly rotating zero-alcohol cans of IPA. They even published their debut book, A guide to feeling good and being okay with it when you’re not in 2022 and do their own merch. Look good feel good and all that.
3. New Century
In at number three is one of the city centre‘s best new food vendor halls, bars and entertainment venues, which just so happens to be doing a very good deal to kick off the year too, which they’ve appropriately dubbed ‘Dry Scranuary’.
We’re talking about New Century over in the heart of the regenerated NOMA district and not only is the ground floor of this big open-plan venue the perfect place for you and a bunch of mates to pile into and have a bite, but they’re also giving you an extra incentive to do so whilst staying off the sauce.
Throughout all of January, you can get a free non-alcoholic beverage with any main all-day from Wednesday to Sunday and, hey, you can always head upstairs for a gig afterwards as well. Sold.
Now, if you fancy sipping and savouring something fancy whilst still feeling like you’re treating yourself to something a bit posh and special as somewhat of a reward for another day of Dry Jan down, why not do it at a bar that’s been named best in the UK two years running and one of the best in the world?
Schofield’s is the kind of place where you’re not going in to get drunk in the first place: you’re there to take in the atmosphere and aesthetic, appreciate the immaculate service and admire the expertly made drinks. Lucky for you, they have an entire menu packed with non-alcoholic concoctions.
Stylised as their ‘Temperance’ selection, you can enjoy everything from a colourful Club Tropicana to a classic Virgin Mary or even a ‘Frosty Toddy’: honey, ginger, lemon and soda. Sweet, simple and sublime. If there’s anyone who can make a drink that doesn’t need any alcohol in it, it’s these wizards.
The fifth and final entry on our whistle-stop tour of Manchester bars that are great at low percentage and alcohol-free libations is the one and only Zouk Tea Bar and Grill over on Chester Street.
Serving up some of the best Indian and Pakistani food you’ll find in any of the 10 boroughs, not to mention a firm favourite amongst almost everyone in the office, this popular restaurant situated just off the Oxford Road Corridor doesn’t just serve up banging food but some of the best mocktails you’ll find.
With five different types of mojito – including their much-loved ‘special’ – cosmos, daiquiris, pina coladas and our personal preference, the ‘Summer of 69’ (mango and pineapple juice with passion fruit, lime and a shot of grenadine), there’s something for everyone. The perfect kind of refreshment to pair with mounds of bottomless Zouk curry or brunch. Might as well whilst you’re there.
- Four Greater Manchester Sunday roasts named among the best in the country
- The best places to eat in Greater Manchester if you’re doing Veganuary
- Wetherspoons announces massive January sale with pints from £1.99
As always with these lists, this is just a taste of the low and alcohol-free options Manchester has to offer these days as Britain continues to reassess its bar and binge culture.
For starters, places like the Printworks have such a healthy selection of mocktails, low and no-alcohol drinks at the likes of O’Neills, Bierkeller, Hard Rock Cafe, Boom Battle Bar and more that you’d never had to walk for more than a few yards between tipples. They’re even offering £20 off through their app.
Other honourable mentions have to go to the likes of the award-winning brains behind Blinker Bar, the stylish but unpretentious cocktails specialists at Stray, the charming Parisian-inspired drinks at The Daisy, the marvellous mocktail menu at Etçi Mehmet and so many others.
But a month goes by in a flash and we didn’t want to ram a load of bars down your throat, so this handful should do you just fine. Instead of making Dry January feel like a slog or a chore, let’s keep that lovely feeling of having a social drink going and remember it’s about who’s cheersing the glass, not what’s in it.
And if you’re looking to make the most of your visits to bars and restaurants around Greater Manchester in January, you can find all the best deals down below.
Best of luck for the rest of Dry Jan and whether you’re counting down the days to that first drop or turning over a new leaf, we know you can do it.
For all the latest news, events and goings on in Greater Manchester, subscribe to The Manc newsletter HERE.