Country's first booze-free bar fails

Auckland's night-time revellers have spoken - there's no room for a dry bar in the city.

Tap Bar, the country's first alcohol-free bar, has shut its doors after only five weeks of business on Karangahape Rd.

Co-owner Grady Elliott said he was applying for a liquor licence and would relaunch as a nightclub.

"We gave it a shot and Auckland drinking culture just didn't tie in with the dry bar. No one showed up," he said.

Tap Bar, which stands for The After Party, charged a $15 entry fee and non-alcoholic drink prices started at $5.

It opened at midnight and hoped to attract customers spilling out of neighbouring nightclubs at 4am closing.

Elliott said the bar had a few customers but they drank water and little money was passed over the counter.

"We took it by the balls and gave it a punt. We knew it could have gone either way and we were prepared for it," he said.

"The good thing is it's ready to go as a licensed nightclub."

Non-alcoholic bars and clubs were emerging internationally, with establishments in London, New York and Sweden tipped as "the next big thing" by overseas media.

Alcohol Health Watch director Rebecca Williams was not surprised by the bar's demise.

But she said it had targeted clubbers who wouldn't necessarily want to quit boozing after 4am.

She added that 18-24-year-olds were usually the ones spilling out of nightclubs in the early hours of the morning.

The levels of alcohol-related harm among that age group in Auckland was "significantly" higher than the national rate.

- Herald on Sunday

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