It is now two months since Sobar opened in Nottingham. Our first alcohol free bar is on Friar Lane, between the Old Market Square and Nottingham Castle. The concept is a welcome one and the fact that it is a social enterprise (helping those recovering from alcohol or drug abuse), it will certainly get the goodwill of the Nottingham public.
I had passed the place a few times, and could see that it had been set out with a relaxed feel to it. I had heard that they were using the bar for a wide variety of events. I had formed a team for a recent quiz night but had to postpone at the last minute.
My first visit, therefore, was overdue. Mothering Sunday was fast approaching and Sobar came to the rescue. Having made the reservation, I was convinced it was the right choice. I recall Sunday lunches of my childhood as ‘alcohol free’. A jug of water accompanied almost all meals. My mother would have approved!
As we stepped into Sobar, Its large open-plan room had a light, airy and relaxed feel. We were early for lunch and had the pick of the room. Most commercial restaurants, in order to attract passers by, will look to seat early diners near the window. No so Sobar staff, who have a more laid back attitude.
We settled in and ordered our aperitif, a locally sourced sparkling spring water from The National Forest. The music was as chilled as the room and played at the right volume; something I find is an exception rather than the rule these days!
We had a look around, made a donation for one of the many second-hand books on display. We admired the table decorations and plant holders, made from recycled drink cans. There was local artwork displayed on the walls.
A young family arrived and made use of the play area at the back of the room. Other diners began to fill the room. There were plenty of staff around and all seemed under control.
The starters came on time and were well presented on ‘slate’ plates. The main courses were roast dinners, well portioned and piping hot.
We ordered our desserts, which sounded great. Unfortunately, I am unable to say whether they tasted great!
Even more unfortunately, the continuing air of calm was clearly masking some issue in the kitchen.
The desserts didn’t arrive, despite two reminders that coincided with the waitress serving the wrong meals to the table next to us.
So three desserts short, I decided to settle the bill with the manager. Naturally, the service issue needed mentioning. During the discussion I also commented that my daughter, who had announced that she is vegan, had nevertheless been served butter on her meal. The manager commented that the vegan menu would have been a better option!
How true, and potentially; how enjoyable our dinner could have been! We had been provided with the Mothers Day but not told of the alternative available.
Whether it was down to communication or staff training, something went awry. The member of staff serving us, could also have mentioned that a couple of ingredients were missing from the meals served.
That said, I stand by the title of this post. Sobar so Good.
My goodwill for Sobar remains and so should it for readers of this post. Do not be put off. On the contrary, visit Sobar and enjoy! Honest staff making errors will always be forgiven.