What on earth is the point of a bar with no booze?

The Poms do come up with some seriously daft ideas at times…muslim immigration, joining the EU…and now booze-less bars.

Abstemious bars have also opened in Liverpool and Nottingham, and are planned for Brighton and Newcastle?two famously high-living towns. Unlike many caf?s, they stay open late. They emulate bars in other ways, with live music, comedy acts and films to pull in punters. When the lights go down and the DJ plays at Sobar, which opened in Nottingham in January, it looks like any city bar, hopes Alex Gillmore, the manager. Redemption misses the hefty profits made on alcohol, but temperance brings its own benefits. Business remains steady throughout the week rather than spiking at the weekend, says Catherine Salway, its founder. The absence of drunken, obstreperous patrons means that bouncers are unnecessary.?

Sobar, like the Brink in Liverpool, is linked to a do-gooding drug and alcohol charity. But ordinary drinking dens are becoming a little drier, too, out of business sense rather than temperance principle. Pubs can make almost as much selling food as drink?and more are serving it. Both in pubs and at home, less boozy drinks are becoming popular. Total sales of beer by volume dropped slightly in the year to January, but those of the weaker kinds, with just 1.3-3.3% alcohol by volume, jumped 32%, according to Kantar Worldpanel, a market-research firm. Sales of ?adult? sparkling soft drinks are growing too. Perhaps the caf?-culture British politicians have so long yearned for is at last emerging. A sobering thought.

Why don’t they just call the places Clayton’s…they’ll be as successful.

What next for the poms? Brothels without whores?