Dublin is recognized as the place to go for a city trip if you like good music in one of the countless pubs in the city. In those pubs, people traditionally drink a relatively large amount of beer and whiskey, while a local singer-songwriter does his very best to create a typical atmosphere. And in this Dublin, home of the world famous Guinness, an alcohol-free bar opened in May. The Virgin Mary Bar has been open for three months now and we wanted to know how they experienced the first three months in the Virgin Mary Bar.
The time had come
Soberito: What was the main reason to start an non alcoholic bar?
Sarah Connolly (Virgin Mary Bar): Cities are becoming more diverse with increasingly discerning populations, so more and more, people are looking for a place where they can sit down with friends and really connect in a lively yet mindful drinking environment. People are influenced by health trends and simply want to lead healthier lives. This doesn’t mean no alcohol but just an attitude of moderation. And we saw a need for an establishment like The Virgin Mary Bar.
Soberito: The Virgin Mary opened the doors about three months ago, is the business going worse or better than expected?
Sarah Connolly (Virgin Mary Bar): We have a very steady business since opening which we are thrilled to see. We originally opened 7 days a week to see which days were busiest and we now only close on Monday’s, like most bars, as the city is extremely quiet on this day. It’s still very early days so we can’t comment further at this point.
Soberito: The last couple of months a lot of new drinks pop up on the non alcoholic scene, do you change the menu regularly to serve new drinks?
Sarah Connolly (Virgin Mary Bar): We started out with 7 signature alcohol-free cocktails including our Virgin Mary which is mixed with freshly pressed vegetable juices, a Dublin made hot sauce and spicy infusions all created in-house. We devised a really exciting menu which showcases entirely original alcohol-free cocktails crafted with the same love, detail and balance as liquor based varieties. The bar also has an array of alcohol-free beers such as Mikkeler from Denmark, de-alcoholised wines including Natureo from Spain and alcohol-free spirits like Ceder’s and Silk Tree. We will be launching an entirely new larger menu in the middle of August and plan to do so every few months. We also run regular specials and will have guest bartender drinks in the future too.
Perfect fit in progressive Dublin
Soberito: Is there another atmosphere in the bar than there is in a normal pub? (are people more quiet for example?)
Sarah Connolly (Virgin Mary Bar): One of the most unique things about the bar is the atmosphere, everyone comments positively on it. There’s an intangible quality about it where its lively yet chilled, fun but laid back and always at the same tempo. The vibe hits you as soon as you walk in, it’s a really inclusive and welcoming place to be.
Soberito: Dublin is known to be a city where people like to drink (a lot), what were the reactions from the outside world when you told people about opening a non alcoholic bar.
Sarah Connolly (Virgin Mary Bar): We had may reactions, a lot of people were shocked and even laughed a little but most were very supportive and recognised the need for a venue like ours. Dublin is a very progressive city and Capel St is a unique area with lots of interesting independent retailers, restaurants and bars so we were a natural fit.
Soberito: What is your favorite alcohol-free cocktail/beer/other drink
Sarah Connolly (Virgin Mary Bar): Our Tiki Street cocktail has a wonderful balance to it and has proved to be so popular that we are keeping it on the next menu. It is a beautiful drink which is heady with pomegranate, hibiscus and black cardamom .
Soberito: Is there some alternative for alcohol that you think is still missing? (Wine? Whiskey? Cognac?)
Sarah Connolly (Virgin Mary Bar): There a new AF products coming out almost weekly right now and it is an extremely innovative category. There will be an AF alternative to every alcohol product soon.
Soberito: Thanks and good luck!
More info can be found on the website of the Virgin Mary bar