🍸This new Orlando bar serves only non-alcoholic cocktails

The BANDBOX bar offers spirit-free cocktails in 1920′s speakeasy venue

It’s a unique concept, a non-alcoholic bar. (Never thought you’d see ‘nonalcoholic’ and ‘bar’ in the same sentence, eh?)

The new bar called The BANDBOX recently opened in Orlando and the theme will take you back in time to the 1920s with velvet drapery, tiled ceilings and black and white silent movies playing.

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The BANDBOX is a concept two years in the making. Owner Kevin Zepf said during the early days of the pandemic, he wanted to create a space that combines his love for theater and art with a twist.

That twist?

Again, this speakeasy only serves non-alcoholic drinks.

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Zepf said he was inspired by the temperance movement in the 1920s.

“At the time people were just getting drunk. There was a lot of corruption, a lot of crime and the jails were filling up. Wives and mothers were concerned about their sons and husbands because everyone was out drinking. There was a movement to kind of clean everything up. Out of that, came these temperance bars or taverns that only served non-alcoholic drinks like elixirs and tonics,” said Zepf.

Zepf said right now, the no-booze experience is becoming a trend and he wanted to create a unique space in Orlando.

“Millennials have either been cutting back on drinking significantly or have stopped drinking altogether. We really tapped into that demographic,” said Zepf. “There are a lot of fantastic bars and restaurants in this neighborhood. We didn’t necessarily want to compete and add another bar.”

So what is considered nonalcoholic?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers beverages with 0.5% of alcohol to be “trace” amounts of alcohol, derived from the use of flavoring extracts or from natural fermentation. Therefore those beverages can be labeled nonalcoholic.

However, the FDA does not use the terms “nonalcoholic” and “alcohol-free” interchangeably. It uses the term “alcohol-free” only when a product contains no detectable trace of alcohol.

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Zepf said The Bandbox doesn’t require a liquor license and uses zero-proof alcohol alternatives like bitters and elixirs to mimic cocktails.

“It’s a lot of plant-based chemistry in the alcohol alternative so a lot of these non-alcoholic spirits are made of spices and peppers to replicate that same sensation, that burn that you get in your throat,” said Zepf.

The BANDBOX has a drink menu with different seltzers, wines and cocktails - non-alcoholic, of course. It also includes CBD beverages.

The BANDBOX is located in Ivanhoe Village off North Orange Avenue, just south of East Vanderbilt Street. At less than 500 square feet of space for guests, the BANDBOX is an intimate speakeasy and retail space offering vintage goods like fashion hats, games and shirts. Zepf is also highlighting local art with a small gallery. You can even purchase bottles of zero-proof alcohol alternatives, beers, wines and bitters.

Click HERE to learn more about The BANDBOX.


About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.