A Sober-Curious Guide to London with Everleaf’s Paul Mathew

A Sober-Curious Guide to London with Everleaf’s Paul Mathew

Take a hangover-free tour of London’s non-alcoholic bar offering with biologist-turned-bar owner Paul Mathew, founder of non-alcoholic aperitifs brand Everleaf

there’s one thing us Brits are known for, it’s our drinking
culture. But while we love nothing more than sinking a pint of the
cold stuff at some storied boozer, we can’t help but acknowledge
the benefits provided by a Dry (read: occasionally damp) Jan stint.
We’re not alone. Interest in teetotal living is on the up, with the
number of self-defined “sober-curious” individuals sky-rocketing in Gen Z and millennial age
groups. It’s a step change that has led bars across the globe to
add low- or no-alcohol options to their cocktail menus, with
innovative and playful results. On their wavelength? We’ve called
upon the help of expert Paul Mathew to help us navigate London’s
teetotal terrain.

Mathew, a biologist-turned-bar owner and founder of
non-alcoholic aperitifs brand Everleaf, grew up as the son of a botanist, spending
much of his life surrounded by plants. His fascination for flora
now shapes the flavours of the award-winning label, which can be
sampled in well-crafted mocktails across the country, as well as at
his three London bars: The Hide, The Arbitrager
and Demon
, Wise & Partners.

Paul Mathew, Everleaf
Nine Lives, London

Paul Mathew, left, and the low-lit interiors at Nine Lives

We caught up with Mathew to get the lowdown on London’s best
addresses for a sober adventure. Read on for his tips on
exploring the city’s ABV-free nightlife.

A teetotal adventure around London with Everleaf’s Paul

Give us a run-down on London’s non-alcoholic scene.

How long have you got? If you know where to look, you’ll find
that the city’s non-alcoholic bar scene is second to none. Over the
last few years, London’s top drinking dens have well and truly
upped their game. Be it the glitzy and glamorous rooms at The Savoy and
The Connaught or the cutting-edge cocktail
concepts at Lyaness, Seed Library and Tayēr +
, you’ll find something that tickles your
non-alcoholic fancy. Prefer a neighbourhood vibe? Shoreditch-based
Happiness Forgets and West Hampstead’s Heads + Tails
have got you covered. Lucky Saint beer is set to open its own boozer in
Marylebone this year, too.

It’s a Saturday night in the city. Where should we head?

Bermondsey Street is where it’s happening on a Saturday night.
Start by popping into Borough Market for a cheeky cheese toastie
courtesy of Kappacasein. Then, swing by Electric Shuffle
and Nine
, before enjoying a sober cocktail at The Hide.

Mildreds Soho
Mildreds Soho Interior

The exterior of Mildreds in Soho, and a look inside the
plant-based hangout.

What about a booze-free brunch?

I love the plant-based menus at Mildreds in Soho; their spiced pineapple spritzes go
well with a spot of people-watching.

Any hotels suitable for a sober-curious weekend break?

Some old friends have a small boutique hotel on Ebury Street in
Pimlico, the Lime Tree Hotel. Its central location makes it a great
base, and it’s very much an urban oasis. There’s a beautiful walled
garden in the back where they’re growing their own produce, and the
bedrooms make me wish they’d give my own place a makeover.

Any favourite shopping spots for drinks aficionados?

Bermondsey Antique Market, open on Friday mornings,
has a brilliant offering of old-school bar tools and esoteric
drinks collectables.

The Lime Tree London
The Lime Tree Hotel, Exterior

A cosy bedroom corner at the Lime Tree Hotel, alongside the
hotel’s streetside dining.

Your career as a biologist helped inspire Everleaf. Any green
spaces we should visit?

When I was growing up, I often visited my dad, who worked at the
Royal Botanic
Gardens, Kew
. He worked in the Herbarium, a house storing one
of the largest collections of dried plant specimens in the world. I
got to know the best hidden spots and trees to hide in, and I still
love going to the gardens whenever I get a chance. It’s an
incredibly relaxing space.

The Barbican Conservatory is worth a visit,
too. There’s something pretty special about the lush vegetation
against the brutalist architecture. It’s an example of the ability
plants have to flourish when given the chance.

What ingredients make for a killer non-alcoholic cocktail?

Everleaf Mountain. It’s a gentle tonic water infused
with cherry blossom, rosehip and strawberry – there’s no better
aperitif to get the party started.

Any non-alcoholic bars worth a visit further afield?

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Hekate in New
York’s East Village, plus the newly opened Binge
in Washington DC. If you’re in Dublin, you need to try
The Virgin
. Next on my list? Sans Bar in Chicago.

Bre Graham

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