LOCALS in a booze-free boozer have said they prefer it to pubs and bars where alcohol is on sale.
Sam Watson, a recovering alcoholic, noticed there was nowhere to go in Weymouth at night that did not serve alcohol.
So Sam launched the Dry Dock in a former dentists to cater for the gap in the market. Now drinkers in the pub have said they prefer it because of the no booze policy.
Sharon MacLean, 44, is waiting for a heart transplant and has given up smoking and drinking and adopted a healthier lifestyle.
She said: "I come here most days. My surgery was a major factor but I also just wanted to be healthier, not to smoke or drink and here there is much more of a community vibe.
"I call it an adult youth club. There's a free pool table, darts and board games.
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"They have live music on a Friday and Saturday night so I like to come down for that.
"There's a men's mental health group on a Monday night and they've just started one for women too.
"I know people who have been widowed and they come to make friends. I tell all my friends about it.
"I was in a bad relationship with someone who was an alcoholic and I just feel safer in an environment like this.
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"I just really enjoy it, you know you're going to have a laugh and see someone you know."
Alan Farrell, 46, from Portland, has given up alcohol due to being on heavy medication.
He said he likes that you get a much wider variety of non-alcoholic ciders and beers than you would in a pub.
He said: "People who come in just generally want to avoid the alcohol vibe. I'm on quite heavy medication so I choose not to drink anymore but I like that I can have a cider here.
"If I'm in a pub people will always ask me why I'm not drinking so I'd just rather go to a place not serving alcohol.
"In a pub you normally get soft drinks, coffee and maybe one or two alcohol-free beers. Here there's about 50 different options, a true variety.
"My partner drinks but she'll quite happily come in here and enjoy a gin equivalent and know she won't wake up with a hangover.
"I think people like it because there's nothing like this around. It's run as a community interest, not for profit, so the drinks are slightly cheaper, there's a really friendly atmosphere.
"People feel they can socialise safely if they don't like the rowdiness of pubs. You get people of every age in here.
"There is a huge amount of community spirit, everyone has just come together.
"All the work was done by volunteer labour, the furniture was donated by Palmer's Brewery in Bridport and there's lots of events being organised.
"And everything is free – the jukebox, pool table, retro arcade games. We have younger groups into Warhammer and Dungeons & Dragons."
Yasmine Case, 26, and her mum Sarah, 53, both from Weymouth, go to Dry Dock every Thursday for a social group gathering.
Yasmine said: "We used to meet at a cafe but a lot of people couldn't get up the stairs so we started meeting here instead.
"It's really lovely and I like that it's dog friendly too. I don't really drink in general but there's a good choice if you do want a non-alcoholic drink."
Mum Sarah added: "It's got a really nice atmosphere and there's lots going on with different groups.
"It's nice to know if you do want a cider or something like that you can have an alcohol-free one and there's lots of choice.
"I'm hoping to run some arts and crafts workshops here in the future too."
Leigh Henderson, 45, was manning the bar and is in charge of organising all the events at Dry Dock.
He said: "It started off as an alcohol-free bar but it has evolved now into a community hub.
"We have artists and change the gallery every month, live music every Friday and Saturday night, well being communities, women's circles, it's pulling in lots of different groups of people.
"We get people walking in off the streets curious wanting to know what it is and we say 'whatever you want it to be'.
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"We're setting up a recording studio in the back room and we've had a reflexologist in today.
"We've had a few negative comments on Facebook but from people who come in it's all been really positive feedback. People say this is exactly what Weymouth had needed for the last ten years."
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