A pub crawl with a difference

g8wzkxm6_400x400On a cold night early in January a couple of us from Blenheim ventured to a bustling bar in London for a #mindfulpubcrawl with our friends from Club Soda. We were unsure what to expect from this pub crawl with a difference, where instead of boozing to excess you visit pubs and bars and test their alcohol-free beers, creative mocktails, craft sodas and more.

We were there to join the first mindful pub crawl and official launch of Club Soda Guide – London’s first guide for mindful drinkers. As a leading charity that provides support to drug and alcohol users, families and carers across London, Blenheim has been a key partner in supporting and developing the project.

The digital guide is designed to help people navigate the best places to go out when they want to drink less and get pubs to consider and look after their non-drinking customers more. Each venue has entered details about the low and no alcohol drinks they stock into the Guide and been given a score out of 5, along with advice on how to improve their score.

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There was a busy and excited crowd from the start with everyone from people doing Dry January, Club Soda regulars and others who just wanted to try something different for the evening. We visited three venues on our crawl and here our scores on the selection for non-drinkers from each.

Our verdict

Venue 1: Draft House Chancery
We thought this was a fantastic place with at least 5 different low alcoholic craft beers and really helpful bar staff to explain each the subtle differences between each. You barely realised you weren’t drinking normal beer and great to have options other than Becks Blue. The pub itself had a really good atmosphere and huge and delicious range of food. It really helped kick the evening off with a bang and get people in the spirit.

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We enjoyed some great low alcohol beer

Blenheim rating: 5/5. Excellent low alcoholic beer with plenty of other options and friendly, helpful staff

Venue 2: Ye Olde Cock Tavern, Fleet Street
I think any venue would have had difficulties living up to Draft House’s high standard but I have to say we were a little disappointed by this pub. It’s always tricky when a big group of people arrive but it didn’t really feel like they were prepared for us. There were non-alcoholic beers and mocktails but the staff weren’t very clued up on them and seemed surprised when asked.

Blenheim rating: 3.5/5. Decent selection of no/low alcohol drinks but not on display and bar staff a little lacking in enthusiasm

Venue 3: All Bar One, Ludgate Hill
A nice glamorous finish to our crawl in this bar. They had a big selection of softtails which were lovely as well as non-alcoholic beer and loads of soft drinks. Bar staff were speedy and knowledgeable about what booze-free options were available. It was a cosy and relaxed atmosphere and perfect to finish the night in. The food looked top notch too.

Blenheim rating: 4/5. Tasty softtails, great atmosphere

We had a great time sampling drinks, meeting other people and trying out the Club Soda Guide packs. These included design your own beer mats, board games and a set of would you rather cards. Overall it was a fantastic way to spend an evening with a difference and enjoy being in a pub without knocking back the drinks all night.

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Blenheim’s very own Kris got into the spirit

In fact we had so much fun that we’re running our own Blenheim mindful pub crawl on 25 January starting at 6pm in the Sugar Loaf. We’d love for you to join us and you can find out all the details and register on our eventbrite page. Hope to see you there!

You can also run your own crawl using the guide and sign up to get your free kit and keep up to date with the latest news from the Club Soda Guide. Remember to review all the places you visit!

Club Soda Guide’s mindful pub crawl challenge is a way for Londoners to support their local pubs and improve their health. January is traditionally a time for healthy New Year’s resolutions, with over 2 million people in the UK taking a month off booze.

If you’re looking to cut down on alcohol either for Dry January or as part of an ongoing lifestyle changes, check out our blogs for 10 nights out that don’t involve alcohol and some of the best non-alcoholic alternatives to your favourite tipples.

If you’re worried about your drinking you can find out about the free, confidential and non-judgmental services and where else to get help. In an emergency always call 999.

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