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Montreal Will Get Its First Alcohol-Free Bar This Summer

When you think about it, it’s not that different to a café (even if the atmosphere will be more bar-like).

Mindful Bar/Facebook

Montreal is set to get a bar that doesn’t serve alcohol this summer.

CBC reports that Mindful Bar should be on its way to the city in July, aims to give non-drinkers (or just the temporarily sober) a space to hang out and relax.

Co-owner Isabel Tames told CBC morning show Daybreak that she quit drinking two years ago, and continued to go out with friends but found herself going home early, feeling uncomfortable around people who were much less sober than her. Hence, the idea for Mindful Bar.

“You can actually have fun with no alcohol...I don’t want alcohol to control my life or control my fun,” Tames told CBC.

Tames will open it on St-Denis Street with her partner Diego Bayancela (Eater has reached out for details on the exact address). Tames and Bayancela are seeking to make sure that Mindful has a distinct bar vibe — non-alcoholic cocktails, live music, DJs, and theme nights will all feature, and it’ll double as an event space for the community.

Mindful is planning to go beyond fancied-up sodas and juices on its menu — it’ll feature non-alcoholic cocktails with flair, with plans to bring in a cocktail expert and get playful with syrups that incorporate herbs, spices, and other infusions in order to substitute the alcoholic components. Alcohol-free beer and wine will also be served.

There will undoubtedly be naysayers who gripe that “alcohol-free bar” is an oxymoron, but if you reconsider a concept like Mindful Bar as just a business offering goods, services, and a place to hang out to the public, it makes perfect sense. That’s exactly what coffee shops do — although Tames and Bayancela are clear that it won’t be a café in terms of atmosphere and offerings.

Alcohol-free bars have become a little more common in recent years — cities like Austin, New York, and Portland, Maine all have them. In Montreal, Nacarat (inside the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth) also puts concerted effort into its alcohol-free cocktails, although it does otherwise serve alcohol. The timing seems right for Mindful Bar: there has also been more public interest in sober or alcohol-free lifestyles of late — in Montreal, this has been partly driven by Joe Beef owners David McMillan and Fred Morin, whose decisions to go sober have been much-publicized.

Mindful Bar is aiming for a mid-July opening.