Raise a glass to Niks Bar: Joburg’s first alcohol-free watering hole

This innovative venue aims to offer a unique and entertaining bar experience adapted to the times

12 August 2020 - 09:32 By Steve Steinfeld
The team at Mesh Club (pictured here) have just opened an alcohol-free bar called Niks Bar. Expect the same sort of flair, sans booze.
The team at Mesh Club (pictured here) have just opened an alcohol-free bar called Niks Bar. Expect the same sort of flair, sans booze.
Image: Graeme Wyllie and Richard Lewisohn

The team at Mesh Club have opened an alcohol-free bar on Rosebank’s trendiest strip, the Keyes Art Mile. The new space is cleverly named Niks Bar, which is a play on the popular members’ club’s in-house Mix Bar, as well as a nod to the fact that no booze will be served — niks is Afrikaans for “nothing”.

The idea was born out of a desire to help those bartenders and mixologists who have been hard-hit by the ongoing crisis facing the hospitality industry as a result of lockdown restrictions and the government-mandated alcohol ban. The new bar will give them the opportunity to work shifts and take home tips as well as a share of the profits.

“This is a non-profit operation aimed at preserving the livelihoods of out-of-work bartenders and will give people the chance to safely come out of their homes to enjoy an ‘out on the town’ atmosphere that only a great bar can offer,” says Mesh general manager Kobus van Zyl.

[Niks Bar] will give people the chance to safely come out of their homes to enjoy an ‘out on the town’ atmosphere that only a great bar can offer.
Kobus van Zyl, general manager of Mesh Club and Mix Bar

The project aims to offer a unique and entertaining bar experience adapted to the times.

Guests can enjoy a range of nonalcoholic spirits, mocktails, beers and sparkling wines together with a refined interpretation of dive-bar style dishes, while enjoying entertainment in the form of board games, live DJ sets on Fridays and Saturdays, and playlists carefully curated by the mixologists on duty.

In addition to being an alcohol-free space, Niks Bar is operating under strict hygiene and safety protocols with social distancing and curfew regulations in mind. A strict “no-mask, no-access” rule has been implemented too.

As the bar officially opened on Women's Day, the first month of operation will focus on female bartenders and female-owned or driven brand collaborations.

Niks Bar is on street level in the Trumpet Building, 21 Keyes Avenue, Rosebank. It's open on Thursdays and Sundays from noon to 9pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 4pm to 8pm. Lunch is served from noon to 5pm.

Follow Niks Bar on Instagram.  

• This article is adapted from one originally published on Wanted Online. Visit wantedonline.co.za for the latest in luxury lifestyle news.