In a nondescript warehouse – sandwiched between Temple Brewing and Market Lane’s roastery – is Brunswick Aces, billed as Australia’s first permanent non-alcoholic bar and bottle shop.

Co-founders Stephen Lawrence and Cameron Hunt built the one-of-a-kind stills – visible through big glass panes behind the bar – producing “distillates” with intense flavour but no booze. Brunswick Aces calls it Sapiir, a gin-like botanical-laden tipple that can turn a tonic into a proper drink, or slip seamlessly into a cocktail.

Speaking of cocktails, you might order the King Louis, which blends coconut water and a cucumber-mint cordial with the Hearts Sapiir (which has notes of sweet citrus and native Australian wattleseed). The rest of the cocktail list features zero-alcohol spirits from Brunswick Aces’ contemporaries, including Margaret River’s Ovant and Sweden’s Gnista.

Also on the menu (and available to take away) is zero-alcohol wine by McGuigan and Songbird – from sparkling to pinot noir – as well as the complete range of Melbourne-made Non products.

Beers are available in a multitude of styles including stouts and XPAs, by the likes of Heaps Normal, Upflow and Hawkesbury Brewing.

The team considers the space “industrial baroque”, and it suits. There’s a welcoming plushness created by brassy fixtures, emerald-coloured velvet drapes and matching round-backed chairs. It’s a classy, homely sort of place that looks and feels just like a business-as-usual bar, where you can tuck into some cheese and charcuterie paired with a well-made cocktail.

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Updated: July 14th, 2022

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