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30 Days Sober: The Best of Melbourne's Booze-Free Social Offerings

Home > Melbourne > Food and Wine | Fine Dining | Cocktail Bars | Breweries
Published February 22nd 2013
"a double water on the rocks, thanks"
Water shots, anyone?!

Day one and I've already turned down 24 beers. While my friends are only social drinkers, "we should get a slab" is a conversation starter, especially when there's a bottle shop around the corner. I mentally pat myself on the back, impressed by my own steely resolve.

People go sober for many reasons: health, wealth, and mental prosperity, to name a few. Feb Fast is on right now conveniently scheduled in the shortest month of the year. And every year when Dry July rocks around there's always someone who confidently announces "I could totally do that", while downing their fourth pint and gazing impressively around the pub. After all, how hard can it be? In the name of pride and WeekendNotes reviews, I took to finding out. Since all good experiments have ground rules I've got two: say yes to every invitation. And say no to every drink.

It's barely four pm on Friday when an invite shoots around the classroom. "Drinks at Tsubu?" I put my game face on and accept. Tsubu Bar does a great sake, which I have a weakness for, but this time around I order a hot chocolate. The waitress wants to know what size, so I give her five dollars and ask for the largest one they can make. A huge steaming stein of chocolaty goodness emerges a few minutes later and my sake-sipping friends are jealous, albeit briefly.

I hope that's just lemonade

Atmosphere: 9/10.
Drinks: 6/10. Not many non-alcoholic options, but what they do have (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) is delicious
Result: You don't need beer goggles for this one
Visit their homepage

Day nine and I have drastically mistimed this experiment. Uni holidays are here and the weather is nothing short of glorious. My housemates are heading to the Post Office Hotel and I, not wanting to break the rules, join in. This pub underwent some renovations a few years back and is now quite nice, so I'm happy to sit on a glass of water and have a chat.

Atmosphere: 8/10
Drinks: 7/10.
Result: They've put a lot more work into their cider offerings than you really want to miss out on, but the atmosphere makes up for your disappointing beverage choice. Plus, the bartender put earnest effort into making my water with ice and lemon, even offering a slice of lime. Check out their website.

After carefully passing Australia day with a cup of tea firmly in hand, I have a dinner date at Cornish. The weather's lovely, the courtyard is unpretentious and comfortable, and a cider would top things off nicely. Unfortunately a menu revision has seen the last of the crowd-pleaser risotto, but their mushroom burger is a winner and there's table service.
Atmosphere: 7/10
Drinks: 8/10
Result: After the restaurant upgrade there's a bit more effort surrounding non-alcoholic options, but the true pub atmosphere remains so a good time is had by all.

Happy (water) drinking.
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Why? Health, wealth and mental prosperity
Where: A pub near you!
Cost: You're practically making money
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