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Sports bar with a twist: no alcohol

There's something missing from the new bar and grill that will open on Old Vine Street.


Bar None, tentatively scheduled to open Sept. 19, the day of the University of Kentucky-University of Louisville football game, bills itself as a non-alcoholic bar where customers will find "All of the fun. None of the hangover."

The bar, at 431 Old Vine Street, most recently housed Annette's City Café and is across the street from Wines on Vine.

Owner John Sims said he hopes it'll be a fun place where families take their kids, student-athletes hang out without worrying about getting into trouble and Alcoholics Anonymous members go to watch a big game without the temptation of alcohol.

Sims said Bar None will be a combination sports bar, restaurant and lounge, with a full menu, along with specialty sodas, energy drinks and full-time bartenders blending non-alcoholic "mocktails."

Something else that will be missing from Bar None will be refillable fountain drinks.

Sodas, root beer and ginger beer will be served bottled or in chilled mugs, just as in a regular bar.

He operates a mobile DJ service and said he's worked for the past seven years at The Blue Moon nightclub, where he was manager, and he has experience at other bars.

That will prove helpful as they develop the restaurant, said Roger Fields, Sims' father-in-law and Bar None business partner.

"He knows how to create an atmosphere that people just enjoy hanging out in," Fields said.

Bar None will be outfitted with more than 10 big plasma televisions for sports events and classic music videos, and it will have ambient lighting, a shuffleboard table and a pool table.

Sims and Fields have subleased the building on Old Vine Street from Annette Jett and Frank Bickel, the husband-and-wife team behind Annette's City Café and Annette's Catering.

Bickel said they started the City Café because zoning laws require businesses doing catering out of that location to have regular restaurant hours.

In May, the couple took over the restaurant at The Signature Club of Lansdowne, opening the restaurant to the public as Franky & Annette's. They are moving the catering business to the ballroom at Lansdowne, Bickel said.

"We were lucky to find John and his Bar None concept" to move into the spot, Bickel said.

To get the word out about the bar Sims has given away T-shirts and tickets to Questapalooza through online contests and through the social networking Web sites Twitter and Facebook.

On Sunday afternoon, the restaurant's Facebook page featured Billy Gillispie's mug shot, taken after the former UK coach's arrest for drunk driving last week, with the caption, "I shoulda gone to Bar None."

Sims hasn't limited his marketing efforts to the Internet; he also has used old-fashioned word-of-mouth.

An Alcoholics Anonymous group was already meeting in the building on Wednesday mornings, and Sims said they plan to continue.

"They were ecstatic about it," he said. "Maybe we'll start a trend."