SINGAPORE — Around the world people are starting to relook at what they’re drinking when they head out to meet friends and party. Yes, people are actually looking for No Alcohol Low Alcohol or NOLO drinks at bars and restaurants.
So, why are people going NOLO?
For a variety of reasons from health to religion to even boredom with being drunk, people are choosing to drink less alcohol on their nights out. In Singapore there’s a group of people who have even begun their own list of the best non-alcoholic cocktails and drinks around town.
“Most bars don't have interesting non-alcoholic options, and I avoid those expensive $10-12 sugar laden juices or premix punch which are not even fresh,” explains Jacqueline Tan who works in the marketing industry. “if I really need something non-alcoholic, I go for San Pellegrino sparkling water, tonic water or just a soft drink.”
People who work in the nightlight industry tend to stay away from drinking alcohol because they are actually at work.
Becca D'Bus, who is a nightclub performer and artist, says she is “generally funnier sober”, and only drinks soda water or sparkling water when at club and bars. “If I know I need to dodge the ‘why are you drinking water?’ question, I might ask for soda with a twist of lemon in whatever glass the bar is using to serve Gin and Tonic,” she explains.
On top of that, Becca D’Bus is also a diabetic which is controlled by diet and so she stays away from sugary drinks.
Health concerns ...
In fact, health is a major reason for lots of people who are going NOLO.
“I order sparkling water!” Marie Choo is another person who works in marketing and the nightlife industries who stays away from drinking alcohol. “The reason why I don’t drink is because I usually have to wake up early the next day to run and my body can’t process alcohol well. I still want to hang out with my friends, so I will order a bottle of sparkling water, and it’s still a bubbly!”
For Christopher Daguimol who works in consumer public relations in the fashion industry, it was his health that convinced him to go NOLO.
“I stopped drinking alcohol in 2016. I was hospitalized for a month and that served as a wake-up call to take better care of my health and change my lifestyle for the better,” explains Mr Daguimol.
“I gave up eating red meat and drinking carbonated drinks and alcohol after I got out of the hospital. My health improved after that and I never looked back ever since.
“It's challenging sometimes because of my role in consumer PR, I usually organize events for fashion brands, and more often than not, there will be alcohol at those events. Plus I'm surrounded by industry friends too, and most of them are social drinkers.
“So I sought out great venues and bars with great mocktails! I think in this day and age and in an inclusive society, there should always be non-alcoholic options at events, venues and social gatherings, so guests won't end up just drinking water or an overpriced bottled water.”
Chef Shen Tan, who runs a number of restaurants, has been over sober for over 50 days. “I initially was going to go sober until the Midnight Sun marathon in June. But as the days passed, I realised that I felt better not drinking,” explains Ms Tan.
“Inspired by popular international chef and writer Jack Monroe who has given up drinking, I started examining my relationship with alcohol. I realised that it was/is not a great relationship, that I am better off not drinking at all,” she says.
“The research shows that women should not have more than four drinks a week - for optimal health. And to be clear, there are no benefits to drinking alcohol. NONE AT ALL.”
Ms Tan said that after almost 35 years of drinking she decided that it had “no place in her life anymore”, and that she personally feels much better for “saying goodbye to booze”.
Just being a ‘non-drinker’
Hanging out with your friends enjoying gigs and performances but being a non-drinker, is another reason why people are choosing to go NOLO.
Adibah Isa who chooses not to drink for religious reasons, still loves going to bars to hang out with friends. “I like the non-alcoholic cocktails at Caffe Fernet, Jigger & Pony and of course, habitat by honestbee's B Bar.”
For Mika Tomiyama who works in the bar and club industry, she’s actually happy to hear that more people are interested in trying non-alcoholic drinks.
“I’m so happy that the bar industry now is getting on to the NOLO trend! The brand ambassador of Seedlip - world’s first distilled non-alcoholic gin - Sebastian Robinson was in Singapore for the Singapore Cocktail Festival to shake-n-stir some cool non-alcoholic drinks,” she says.
Ms Tomiyama says that both IBHQ and Madam Fan now have “sassy-looking yummy non-alcoholic cocktails”.
The best places to go NOLO in Singapore
8D Dempsey Rd, Dempsey Hill, #01-02, Singapore 249672
Open: Tuesday - Sunday: 11.30am - 10.00pm
600 North Bridge Rd, Parkview Square, Singapore 188778
Open: Monday - Thursday: 10am - 1am; Friday: 10am - 2am; Saturday: 3pm - 2am; Sunday: Closed
20 Bukit Pasoh Rd, 2nd Floor, Singapore 089834
Open: Monday to Thursday 6pm - 1am; Friday & Saturday 6pm - 2am
Madame Fan Bar
32 Beach Rd, Singapore 189764
Open: Monday - Sunday 12pm - 12am; Last order: 11:30pm
Recommended drinks include the non-alcoholic Manhattan.
Swissôtel The Stamford, 2 Stamford Rd, Level 1, Singapore 178882
Open: Sunday - Saturday 12pm - 1am; Happy Hour 5pm - 7pm
70 Collyer Quay, #01-05 Customs House, Singapore 049323
Open: Monday to Thursday 12pm - 12am; Friday 12pm - 2am; Saturday 12pm - 2am; Sunday 11am - 5pm; Happy Hour 5pm - 7.30pm
165 Tanjong Pagar Road, Amara Hotel, Singapore 088539
Open: Sunday to Thursday 5pm - 1am; Friday & Saturday 5pm - 3am; Happy Hour 5pm - 8pm
7 Ann Siang Hill, #B1-01, Singapore 069791
Open: Monday - Saturday 6pm - 12am; Sunday Closed
774A North Bridge Rd, Singapore 198742
Open: Tuesday to Saturday 5pm - 12am