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Lockdown inspires Jozi’s first non-alcoholic bar

With a renewed ban on the sale of alcohol, hospitality business owners have gotten creative. Niks Bar is a brand-new addition to the Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank, Johannesburg, that uses a vibrant menu of mocktails and other non-alcoholic drinks to bring energy and a sense of community back to the area.

The bar is a brand extension of MESH Club and Mix Cocktail Bar and partners, with various beverage brands involved as well as artists, musicians and creatives. Katie Coetzee, head of communications and marketing, chats to us about the new spot.

How did the idea for Niks Bar come about?

It was a response to what is happening in the world around us. As the #jobssavelives protests erupted, we wanted to help people in our industry. We knew our MESH brand partners had great non-alcoholic options – all we needed to do was create and curate a safe space for this “new normal” way of socialising to emerge. The name Niks refers to “niks nie” as in “nothing” – no alcohol on-premises.

Tell us more about the process of deciding to create a new bar and making the concept a reality?

The whole project came to life within a week or two. We curated our brand partners first, finding the best alcohol-free beverages and brands to get involved and onboard. Our team then transformed a totally empty shell of a space into Niks. Paintbrushes, DIY, décor, plants, music, safety measures and hygiene all came together in a few days for the opening on Women’s Day.

What can patrons expect from the bar?

A safe space to explore the new normal of distanced socialising, great drinks, food and music! Socially distanced seating, cocktails on tap, board games and pop-up events like brunches and listening sessions with musicians.

Can you give us a sneak peek at the menu?

Hunter’s 0.00 beer, Xero alcohol-free G&Ts, Kegged mocktails, 0% ciders from Hunter’s and Savannah, Martini Dolcé bubbly and Just Short bottled virgin cocktails.

Considering calls to stay home and the ban on selling alcohol at bars, what do you hope will encourage people to come to Niks?

We have created a safe space to enjoy life, interact socially, and bring energy and creativity back to the Keyes Art Mile. Our patrons also know that every drink purchased at Niks helps the livelihood of the staff. This is a community bar and we are slowly rebuilding the community around us.

What are you planning during your first month?

A focus on female bartenders during Women’s Month, pop-up brunch events, great DJ lineups, brand activations with our partners and socially distanced dinner events with an NPO called The Sober Curious Socialites.

Where and when can we book?

To find event details, follow Niks on Instagram and Facebook. Bookings can be made on our Facebook page and we’re open Thursdays to Sundays from 2pm to 7pm. No mask means no entry.

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