Aucklanders party until sunrise at alcohol-free bar


Auckland bar hoppers are still adjusting to the idea of a new alcohol-free bar, but its owner says he'll trial it for a few weeks yet.

The After Party, or Tap, opened last Friday on Karangahape Rd, catering to late-night party goers who don’t want to go home when licenced bars close at 4am.

While dry bars have opened up in some cities overseas, it's a new concept for Kiwis.

Tap will open from midnight to 7am on Fridays and Saturdays for approximately six weeks, or until owner Grady Elliot determines whether Aucklanders want it to stick around.

"It will take a few weeks for people to acclimatise," he says.

"We'll try it and see if New Zealand's ready for it."

Last weekend was a "soft opening" but he's encouraged by the turnout – about 80 people ventured into the basement bar on Saturday night.

Customers arrived quite late on both nights and stayed until closing time.

"Leaving at 7am when the sun's coming up is not a good look," he laughs.

The bar attracted a "nice mix" of customers, with some dancing and others just relaxing and talking to friends.

Some punters just wanted somewhere warm to wait for the buses to start at 6am, he says.

"It's bloody cold at that time of the morning."

Mr Elliot says customers are surprised to realise how much variety the bar offers in the way of drinks.

It stocks seven non-alcoholic beers including ones from Russia, Germany, Barcelona, and a Kiwi beer, Export Citrus.

A range of zero-alcohol wines, bubbles and a rose are also on the menu.

Drink sales went as expected for a soft opening, but to encourage more people to come in for a look, the cover charge has been reduced.

Customers arriving before 4am do not have to pay a cover charge, but it's $10 per person after that.

Mr Elliot hopes people swearing off alcohol for Dry July will be curious enough to check out Tap.

The R18 dry bar opened in response to Auckland Council's new alcohol rules on licencing and bar closing times and is set up on the former premises of Coherent club.

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