A PART of Poole known for its drinks-bustling nightlife now has the area’s first non-alcoholic bar.
Longtime Ashley Cross resident Dave Tonkes wanted to provide a warm, pub-style welcome with drinks that could match their alcoholic equivalents for taste.
He created Sobar – a pun on sobriety – in the former Bennetts Bakery in Bournemouth Road.
“I always wanted to make a bar. I would go to other bars and pubs and think ‘If I had this I would do this or that,’” he said.
“I always wanted the vibe and atmosphere we created, but I had a drinking problem that I would call an unhealthy relationship and gave up 11 months ago.”
The father-of-three said he had been frustrated by the lack of enjoyable alternatives to alcoholic drinks.
“There was nothing on offer unless you wanted Diet Cokes or lime and soda or a really awful non-alcoholic beer from one of the big liquor companies, not to mention names.
“There was nothing to offer people who weren’t drinking for whatever reason – whether they were recovering, whether they didn’t want to drink for religious purposes or for health reasons. There are many reasons why people don’t want to drink but want to go socialize and have a good time.
Mr. Tonkes sourced a selection of lagers, IPAs, ciders, cocktails and wines.
“I just did a lot of research, contacted a lot of manufacturers, a lot of small craftsmen who specialize in the non-alcoholic market and just asked them to send me samples. If I don’t like it, I won’t sell it. not,” he said.
He thinks most people wouldn’t tell the difference between drinks and their alcoholic counterparts on a blind test.
Mr Tonkes runs a one-man financial advice business as well as Sobar – and admits he has invested far more than expected.
“My budget went out the window after about three weeks,” he said.
The bar was due to open last night and will be open Tuesday to Saturday, with a late-night opening until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. from Wednesday.
It will open at 10.30am and serve coffee from Carve Coffee Roasters in Swanage as well as cakes and biscotti.
Sobar’s location in Ashley Cross puts it next to the city’s busiest area for nighttime drinking.
“I’ve lived in Ashley Cross for 42 years, ever since we moved from London when I was 10,” Mr Tonkes said.
“Ashley Cross has always been my old playground. I’ve never been to Poole or Bournemouth. If I was going to do anything, it had to be here.
The design of the venue was led by KTM Design, whose founder, Katie Thomas, said: “The natural environment played a key role in our design concept for Sobar, as we wanted to reinforce the calming nature of the space. . This has also been complemented with retro and mid-century modern vibes to give the bar a hip and fun edge, making it the perfect inviting atmosphere for socializing.
The Poole-based b4b marketing agency has organized PR, social media and a soon-to-be-launched website.