Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

14.39 23 May 2021


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The owner of 'Ireland's first alcohol-free bar' The Virgin Mary is hoping to expand his business into the global market.

The cocktail bar located on Dublin’s Capel St is reimagining the Irish pub abroad with its new location in the United Arab Emirates.

Rebranded as simply 'TVM', the new franchise will open in Abu Dhabi this summer.

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Vaughan Yates, owner of The Virgin Mary bar, hopes the expansion will be part of a global move towards drinking and socialising differently.

Speaking to Alive and Kicking with Clare McKenna, he explained why the business initially chose to open in Ireland's capital city.

"We opened in Dublin because we knew if it worked in Ireland it could work anywhere," he said.

Dublin alcohol-free bar eyes global market: 'If it worked here, it will work anywhere'

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"That is slightly a tongue in cheek answer but it's true, it's a difficult market, Ireland is known for its consumption of alcohol and having a good time and the craic.

"We thought opening here would be a really interesting benchmark to see if it worked here because if it did work here, it could work anywhere in the world."

Mr Yates said bringing TVM to Abu Dhabi will be the first franchise partnership of what he hopes is many across the world.

Even before the bar opened in Dublin, he was contacted by the partners in January 2019 about potentially bringing the concept to the UAE.

They were originally open to the idea of it calling the new premises The Virgin Mary, which Mr Yates clarified is named after the popular non-alcoholic cocktail.

However, the partners came back later saying the name wouldn't work.

"We had previously registered TVM as our brand mark to look towards expanding across the world, and TVM is really where we decided to land on at the end of the day," he said.

Mr Yates, who is not tee-total, wants to create a global movement with his concept, explaining that a night out doesn't have to include alcohol.

"The question is, is it all in the mind that you're having a good time or actually, can you have a good time without alcohol?" he said.

"We've certainly found with customers in our bar that you can have as equally a good time whether alcohol is present or not."

Main image: Vaughan Yates, owner of The Virgin Mary bar, pictured in 2019. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

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