The National

The National has long been considered one of the best restaurants in Athens.

It’s a Mediterranean inspired café driven by chef/owner Peter Dale (also of Seabear).

And they’re on the forefront of the zero-proof movement in Athens.

We spoke with The National’s GM, Erin Wilson, who explained the restaurant’s thoughts behind its extensive non-alcoholic menu… basically, it all comes down to their goal of hospitality and inclusivity.

There are more and more people out there not drinking. And The National wants to provide them with an excellent experience.

The bar program is driven by house-made ingredients. The bartenders make syrups and shrubs based on the season’s harvest. And the bar will often experiment with extra produce from the kitchen.

Many of the most popular mocktails are The National’s house cocktails without the booze.

Erin says the On Cloud Nine is a cocktail made in partnership with Journey Juice (a local juice shop) that’s just as good with or without vodka. The drink is built around a cold-pressed juice of cucumber, lemon, bell pepper, apple, kale and pineapple.

Another popular option is the Pomegranate-Lemon Soda, which features house-made lemonade and pomegranate syrup. Agua Fresca, made from fresh watermelon, pineapple and lime juice is a big seller in the summer months. And the Turmeric Tonic is a perennial favorite (with credit to Sqirl in LA, from which The National adapted the recipe).

Overall, The National sees an increase in demand for house, non-alcoholic beverages as folks avoid over-processed, over-sugared and over-transported ingredients.

In addition to their house-made items, the restaurant also serves Georgia sparking water Montane and Vive Calorie-Free Soda.

As Erin says, “We recognize that going out to eat is a treat and if your preference is not to drink alcohol, there should be exciting options in that category, too!”