Johannesburg’s first non-alcohol bar is set to open in Rosebank this weekend with the aim of preserving the livelihood of unemployed bartenders.
Situated on the Keyes Art Mile, Niks Bar is an extension of the Mix Cocktail Bar in Mesh Club, a trendy and exclusive work and play space for entrepreneurs.
The aptly name Niks Bar is a playful take on the club’s in-house Mix Bar: “niks” means “nothing” in Afrikaans, coupled with the fact no alcohol will be served due to the nationwide liquor ban in place.
The new space will only offer non-alcoholic drinks including spirits, mocktails, beers and sparkling wine. Guests can also enjoy music by DJs or play board games while snacking on dive-bar style food.
The idea stemmed from the need to create employment opportunities for bartenders and mixologists who have been badly affected by the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Niks Bar will enable local bartenders to work shifts as well as take tips home and profit share.
Each bartender can personalise their shift by adding their favourite tunes to the playlist or putting a signature dish on the menu for the day.
Kobus van Zyl, general manager of Mesh Club and Mix Bar, said: “This is a non-profit operation aimed at preserving the livelihood 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.”
Speaking to The Citizen, marketing manager of Mesh Club Katie Coetzee explained: “After the #JobsSaveLives movement and protests erupted across the country, we knew we had to do something to help bartenders and mixologists find employment.
“We intend to keep running permanently in the space because we are saving jobs and that’s a long term vision.”
The bar will operate under strict hygiene and safety regulations, with social distancing and curfew regulations in place. A “no mask, no access” rule will also be implemented.
“Guest safety is really important to us. We’re applying the same extensive sanitisation protocols as Mesh Club, where surfaces will be treated and safe social distancing enforced,” added Van Zyl.
“We want people to have a good time, come back out of their homes and feel safe enough to relax, tap their feet to great music, drink in a new way and still get home before curfew.”
Niks Bar will officially open on Women’s Day, Sunday, 9 August. The first month of operation focuses on female bartenders and female-owned or driven brand collaborations.
Address: Street Level – The Trumpet Building, 21 Keyes Avenue, Rosebank
- Thursdays – Sundays from 12pm to 9pm
- Fridays and Saturdays – Live DJs from 4pm to 8pm
- Dining from 12pm to 5pm