Head To A Non-Boozy Bar
Laura Willoughy, co-founder of mindful drinking movement Club Soda, says Redemption Bar has “the best selection of alcohol-free drinks, as well as healthy food.” And with spaces in Covent Garden, Notting Hill and Shoreditch, there’s no excuse not to visit. If you don’t want to risk temptation, Redemption deals exclusively in alcohol-free beverages, with a wide range of smoothies and ‘fruities’ available – we recommend the lemongrass lemonade: lemongrass and chilli shrub with maple and sparkling mineral water. Plus, if you get peckish, then there are veggie and vegan dishes won’t break your healthy streak.
Various locations across London
The Book Club
Anyone who has been to this Shoreditch bar will know it’s one of the most creative in East London. The lived-in basement location is a comfortable and laid-back space. And while they still know how to live it up with a vast range of alcoholic cocktails, they also cater for those who are steering clear of the booze with a ‘Zero-Proof’ menu. Mocktails include the Turmeric Spritz - turmeric, fresh ginger, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, angostura bitters, fresh rosemary, mint & sage, topped with soda – and an Espresso Beets Martini. Who knew beetroot could taste so sweet?
100-106 Leonard St, London EC2A 4RH
There are plenty of sober socials around London if you fancy meeting some like-minded people to have some dry fun with. BBC Radio 2 presenter Janey Le Grace runs a free night called Self Care for the Sober Curious, Queers Without Beers is a regular LGBTQ sober hangout, and Sober & Social offer alcohol-free meet-ups regularly around London.
Various locations across London
At Bar Three, it’s easy to decipher between the hard drinks and the soft ones. The cocktail menu is split up into four sections: free, light, medium and full, and each option has a choice of three drinks. If you’re abstaining completely, then ‘free’ is where you want to be, with a small but perfected selection of a Spritz (bramley apple cordial, verjus and soda), Lemonade (lemon thyme, elderflower and soda), or Sling (Seedlip, pineapple, raspberry and soda). But if you’re just trying to cut down without going cold turkey, there’s light options for you too.
65a Brushfield St, E1 6AA
Book A Restaurant
The Palm Court Afternoon Tea
When forgoing the booze, you can’t get better than a nice big cup of tea to quench your thirst. London has plenty of afternoon teas, many of which offer alcohol for an additional fee. One of our favourites is The Palm Court at the Kimpton Fitzroy for a classic-meets-modern experience – ex-Dorchester executive chef, Roger Olsson, and Pastry Chef, Thibault Marchand, have created a quintessentially British menu. Expect finger sandwiches and freshly-baked scones in unique flavour combinations (think lemon and elderflower and chocolate), plus a wide range of brews for non-drinkers, with plenty of varieties of black teas, green teas and herbal infusions. And for the health-conscious, the afternoon tea also comes in gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian variations.
8 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, WC1B 5BE; from £38pp
Farmacy is located in Notting Hill and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Run by Camilla Fayed, the restaurant offers an array of plant-based dishes in a stylish environment with a large bar and cosy booths. The menu is inspired by dishes from around the globe and supports both a vegan and vegetarian diet, free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals. And the only shots they do here are of the activated charcoal and raw coconut water kind. And once you’ve gone to town on their cold presses and superfood smoothies, then their comfort food classics include the ‘Farmacy Burger’ truffles mac n’ cheese and Mexican earth bowl. Leave without the hangover of the alcohol or carb variety.
74-76 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, W2 5SH
Good Life Eatery
With the likes of skinny Benedict, egg white frittatas and spelt croissants, this laid-back Chelsea eatery gives a healthy twist to classic brunch creations, so you can tuck into your favourite dishes guilt-free. The lunches aren’t bad either, with hearty plates of courgette fettucine packed with tomatoes and veg; miso hungry macro bowls with roasted butternut squash, homemade kimchi, and wild rice or quinoa; as well as hearty soups, lighter sandwich options and delicious detox salads. And when it comes to drinks, there collection is vast, from shots to ‘mylks’ to superfood smoothies. Perfect for a catch-up with the girls without the guilt.
1 St John's Wood High Street, St John’s Wood, NW8 7NG
New York’s hippest vegan restaurant launched in London in 2018, bringing brunch staples such as quinoa hash browns and smoothie bowls to this side of the pond. At by CHLOE, there’s no limit to what you can order – pasta, burgers, brunch classics, salads, and London specials, such as ‘Fish N’ Chips’ (crispy tofu, chips, mushy peas, tartar sauce) and a ‘Royal Roast’ (sea salt roasted celery root, glazed carrots, green beans, thyme potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, rosemary gravy). There’s also a whole bunch of ‘bevs’ that don’t have alcohol – hot bevs, cold bevs, and a daily rotation of fresh smoothies.
Drury House, 34-43 Russell Street, London, WC2B 5HA; One Tower Bridge, 6 Duchess Walk, London, SE1 2SD
Try One Of These Activities
Have those hangovers been keeping you from becoming the early bird you’ve always dreamed of being? Well, now your mornings are hangover-free, give Morning Gloryville a go. Their early morning raves start at 6.30am and offer inspirational and energetic entertainment, as well as massages, yoga and organic bevvies. You’ll have had a proper workout before the sun has come up!
Various locations across London and the UK
Take A Class
London has plenty of cooking classes for every kind of chef, from butchery classes at Mac and Wild to sushi making lessons with Atsuko’s Kitchen to mastering the art of making perfect al dente pasta at Petersham Nurseries. We’re rating Bread Ahead’s bakery school, who offer a wide range of sessions for everything from Scandinavian pastries to Middle Eastern flatbreads to New York pretzels. So if you’re a seasoned baker keen to get your sourdough technique perfected or a beginner who just wants to know how to make a damn good pizza, take your friends along to one of their classes.
If cooking’s not really your thing, that’s not to only way to learn a new skill – London also has some great floristry classes, such as McQueens one-day masterclasses, which shows you how to put together a beautiful bouquet, or visit super-stylish ceramic community Turning Earth, which has a range of masterclasses for pottery beginners. Across its two sites in Hoxton and Leyton, courses run year-round and every one is taught by an experienced Turning Earth artist.
Play An Immersive Game
If you’re not really into the Crystal Maze or the Escape Rooms just aren’t your scene, there are plenty other interactive and immersive games around London that you and your friends can have a go at. A Door in a Wall is as mysterious as it sounds – talk to suspicious characters and enter through unexpected doorways to solve this murder-mystery-cum-treasure-hunt and see London as you’ve never seen it before. They hold both public and private games throughout the year – the public ones being more expensive than the private – exploring the likes of Chinatown and former art-deco cinemas. You’ll need to stay sober for this one – how else will you solve the mystery?
Various locations across London
Get Your Culture Fix
Think that there’s nothing that hits the spot quite like an ice-cold G&T? Then you obviously haven’t had a culture trip in London recently. An ideal non-boozy night out for friends, family and, of course, a first date, London is brimming with great theatre shows from new and veteran directors. Whether you’re a fan of a musical or want to experience something a little more serious, there’s everything from Aladdin to A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Gillian Anderson’s turn in All About Eve. London’s vast range of cinemas also offer a culture fix far more effervescent than a bottle of prosecco – Electric Cinema often holds special screenings and themed evenings, while the Everyman Cinema has regular Q&As with filmmakers and opera and ballet screenings from the Royal Opera House. Plus, if you like to spend your evenings learning something new, The School of Life hold regular talks for a vast array of people, from Life Lessons with Marina Diamandis to evening events on Learning To Love.