The LCBO is opening a pop-up ‘bar’ in Toronto that doesn’t serve any alcohol

Posted : 11/21/2016

National Post
By Zane Schwartz
November 21, 2016

Ontario’s monopolistic booze retailer, the LCBO, is hosting a pop-up bar on Toronto’s Queen Street West featuring a popular chef, a DJ flying in from London, England — and absolutely no alcohol.

The event is an attempt to promote responsible drinking, said Genevieve Tomney, media relations coordinator for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

The LCBO is pulling out all the stops. London-based DJ FeelgoodSmalls tweeted that she is flying to Toronto to provide music for the night. (The LCBO said they’re not covering her airfare.) Frankie Solarik, co-owner of the popular Toronto artisanal cocktail joint BarChef (where drinks cost $15 to $45) will serve up original, alcohol-free refreshments. Buca chef Rob Gentile, who also partnered with Jamie Oliver to open Oliver’s first restaurant in North America last year, will provide the food.

The LCBO declined to provide information on how much the event, called Bar Zero, will cost. Senior communications consultant Silvana Aceto said Bar Zero is one part of a $1.47 million campaign that will include a TV commercial, digital and social media ads, and in-store signage as part of an attempt to promote non-alcoholic drinks.

“It’s supposed to change the perceptions about moderation and showing that having a good time and having a lot of alcohol don’t have to go hand in hand,” said Aceto.

The LCBO typically runs campaigns during the holiday season talking about the dangers of drinking and driving. This year’s focus on alcohol-free drinks is being welcomed by some.

“They do a big spend at this time of year. It’s always around responsibility when consuming alcohol and looking at alternatives. They’ve actually done a good job with mocktails,” said Andrew Murie, CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada. Murie says non-alcoholic drinks, such as Budweiser’s Prohibition Brew, are growing in popularity, but people in their mid-20s and younger tend not to consider non-alcoholic drinks as an option.

Bar Zero will be held on Nov. 24 from 8:00 pm to 12:00 am at Church Aperitivo Bar at Queen West and Dovercourt.

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