Come summer, residents at the capital will soon be able to enjoy a bar environment – sans the spirits – within a shopping mall.
The Virgin Mary Bar, Ireland’s famous alcohol-free bar, has announced that it will be expanding to the UAE, with its first international outpost all set to open in Abu Dhabi in the summer of 2021.
Known simply as TVM in Abu Dhabi, the venue is being hailed as the Middle East's first "alcohol-free bar and restaurant" and will have the same look, taste and excitement of a bar, but without the alcohol. An opening date will be announced soon.
Brought to the region through a franchise partnership with MBT Restaurant Management, the high-end venue will be located in The Galleria Al Maryah Island, joining dining concepts such as Zuma, Coya and LPM Restaurant.
"People in the UAE will now get to experience a fully-fledged refined bar in a mall, and we will teach them how to drink differently," says Niveen Ibrahim, chief operating officer at MBT Development and executive director at MBT Restaurant Management.
There will be more than just beverages served at the coming venue. Danny Kattar, general manager at MBT Restaurant Management, says that they will be engineering a food menu to fit the bar concept, to give customers "a taste of Abu Dhabi and an experience that is suited for UAE's culture".
"We wanted to ensure that we are making the right offerings for this market, combining the best of both cultures to deliver an experience that we promise will be the buzz of the summer," he says.
The Virgin Mary Bar Dublin was launched in 2019 by co-founder Vaughan Yates, who noticed a growing appetite for non-alcoholic beverages and a gap in the market for high-end dry venues. With the hashtag #drinkdrifferent, the aim of the venue is to "bring about a social revolution".
In Ireland, the venue serves drinks such as the watermelon cooler and tiki street, as well as non-alcoholic wines.
“When we first opened The Virgin Mary in Ireland, it was always our goal to see it spread to cosmopolitan cities worldwide,” says Vaughan. “And with the launch of TVM Abu Dhabi this summer, we are thrilled to realise this ambition so soon. TVM Drinks Creator Anna Walsh has once again built an alcohol-free cocktail menu that will excite and surprise, and this time we are including some really interesting food and drink pairings.
“We are proud to be working with the team at MBT RM to bring the very best alcohol-free drinks to the UAE and to continue to champion a new socialising paradigm for the global market.”
TVM Abu Dhabi will be recruiting several of its Irish team members to bring the essence of the Irish bar to the Middle East.