Eight of the best Birmingham bars to enjoy a Dry January - including Albert’s Schloss & 1000 Trades
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Christmas has been and gone and the new year is here. For many of us that will mean some changes to our eating and drinking habits - particularly if the end of 2022 was a little more over indulgent than we may have liked.
Step forward Dry January and the annual commitment thousands of us make to forgoing alcohol for the month. It’s thought that up to 130,000 people have officially signed up to take part in the Dry January challenge in the UK alone this year, with countless more completing the month of sobriety without the formality.
For some it’s a way to feel a little lighter and brighter, while for others it’s just a good way to kick start a new year. Whatever your reason for choosing to take the challenge, the idea of endless pints of soda and lime and diet cola isn’t all that inspiring and you may find staying at home more appealing.
But there’s never been a better time to go out and explore the city, with so many of Birmingham’s best bars, pubs and restaurants offering interesting alcohol alternatives, whether you’re looking for a whole night out of fun or just an after work pick me up.
Staying sober this month (and beyond) doesn’t have to be a chore. Here, food and drink writer Laura McEwan – author of Bite Your Brum – takes us through the best places to enjoy your Dry January this year.
1) North Brew Co, City Centre
Recently opened next to Snow Hill station, this new taproom is the perfect venue for beer lovers to still enjoy a pint or two but without the booze. You might expect very few options from a dedicated beer bar, but the low or no alcohol selection at North Brew Co is one of the best in the city. Head to the fridges next to the bar and you’ll find numerous cans available including IPAs, stouts and sour beers – all 0% ABV. As well as this, their on-site street food trader Little Bao Boy offers a great selection of light bites to keep you going. Follow North Brew co on Instagram here.
2) Vinoteca, City Centre
Boasting one of the best views in the city centre, Vinoteca is a beautiful bar that’s perfect for meeting friends and enjoying a few drinks over some inviting small plates. As well as a selection of wine mocktails including the popular High Point Ruby Spritz, there’s booze-free beers, non-alcoholic aperitifs and kombuca to keep things interesting. There’s a charming terrace with cosy blankets and twinkling lights overlooking Chamberlain Square, too, if you fancy making it a romantic date night. Check out the website for more information at: Vinoteca Birmingham
3) Passing Fancies, Digbeth
A fun bar promising fresh led drinks whether you’re embracing Dry January or not; the Passing Fancies team have been working tirelessly to come up with some truly special options for those seeking mocktails this month. Every single element is made, created and invented on site, and the level of ingenuity behind the end result is worth asking about. Some of it is like actual magic. Head to the Passing Fancies Instagram page to learn more about what’s available during January.
4) 1000 Trades, Jewellery Quarter
A relaxed pub with lots of personality, 1000 Trades is popular with the Brum beer crowd but with such great kitchen takeovers you’ll often find the foodies there, too. There’s plenty of alcohol-free drinks to enjoy and regular live music and events including comedy clubs and poetry slams. No drinking doesn’t mean no fun! The event listings can be found on the website here: 1000 Trades.
5) 40 St Pauls, Jewellery Quarter
Arguably the best (and probably the smallest) cocktail bar in the city, 40s – as the regulars know it – is famous for its mixed drinks and playful flavours. This extends to a brand new non-alcoholic selection now available at this hidden hideaway. For those that like a traditional tipple the take on an Irish Coffee will warm you up, and for those looking for something a little different the Orchard brings a twist on the iconic Appletizer soft drink. More information can be found on the 40 St Paul’s Instagram page.
6) Purecraft Bar & Kitchen, City Centre
Perfectly placed next to Victoria Square, this a bar for beer lovers – but this January you’ll find so much more to enjoy if you’re avoiding alcohol. Of course there’s a great selection of 0% beers for you to enjoy, but you’ll also find kombucha and a range of soft drinks. The food menu has also recently been updated so there’s plenty to explore this month. You can read more about the drinks available at Purecraft Bar & Kitchen via the website at: Purecraft Bar & Kitchen.
7) The Loft, Gay Village
Cocktails with cabaret is the order of the day at this lively bar. As well as mocktails you’ll be able to enjoy fun evenings with live performances from some of Birmingham’s best drag acts and performers. On Sundays they also offer a hearty Sunday lunch. You can see what’s on at The Loft via the website: The Loft
9) Albert’s Schloss, City Centre
You might not be drinking but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun. Regardless of what night of the week you’re out and about, Albert Schloss always has live entertainment to ensure you’ll have a rip roaring time – sober or not. Expect low and no alcohol cocktails and various 0% beers by the bottle. You can view menus and the entertainment schedule via the website: Albert’s Schloss Birmingham.
Laura McEwan is the author of award-winning Birmingham blog Bite Your Brum. You can find her Instagram page here: Bite Your Brum