Controversy as London ‘pub’ bans drinkers

A ‘pub’ in Shoreditch, London, has banned all drinkers of alcohol from its premises. ‘The OJ’, which offers a 100% vegan, organic menu and serves only fruit juices, uses a simple skin test to check if customers consume booze.

On entering, they are asked to place a finger inside a thimble-like device connected to a computer. This device can decipher – by measuring the chemical content of their sweat – if they have consumer alcohol within the past 30 (or so) days. If the test is negative, customers receive a membership card and are able to enter in future without taking the test. If the test is positive, they are politely asked to either leave or sign a pledge promising to give up booze.

The OJ’s owner and founder Priti Borlotti said: “We are turning the concept of a pub on its head. Millennials are less interested in alcohol so it’s only right they have a pub that rejects booze and the people who drink it. The test we run on the door is completely safe and non-intrusive. We welcome non-drinkers and also welcome drinkers as long as they see the light and promise to change their ways. If the skin test is positive but the customer does not want to leave, we invite them to sign a pledge in which they promise to give up alcohol. If they sign, they can come in. If they refuse to sign then we ask them to leave. If they refuse to leave we simply won’t serve them.”

Local CAMRA member Steve Mild said: “This is discrimination. We’re looking into tests that pubs can run to ban teetotallers from their premises. We’re not going to take this lying down.”

London beer drinker Bob Stevens said: “This is 2019. I can’t say I’m surprised.”

 

 

 

Matt Wright
The author:

Matt lives in Leicestershire. He is passionate about British pubs, slow food and home brewing. He founded Great Food Club (originally as Great Food Magazine) in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town of Melton Mowbray - Britain's 'Rural Capital of Food'.