DRINKERS at a town centre bar sipped from their pint glasses yesterday and declared the brews on offer some of the best they had ever tasted – but not a drop of alcohol was consumed.
Instead those invited to Yorkshire’s only Temperance bar were treated to cordials like sarsaparilla, dandelion and burdock, English elderflower or rhubarb and rosehip served hot or cold.
The bar has been opened by husband and wife team Kara and Tony Chapman, who decided to expand their sweet shop business after customers kept asking for the old-fashioned drinks.
Mrs Chapman, 38, a former manager of a Toys R Us store in Sheffield, said as soon as she opened the Whistle Stop Sweet Shop in Rotherham the requests for the tonics came in.
She added: “Customers could remember when there were several of these bars in town, because there was a big Temperance movement.
“It took us a while, but we managed to track down a company called Fitzpatrick’s in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, which runs the country’s only other bar and makes the cordials.”
Mrs Chapman has moved to bigger premises, next door to her old shop in Rotherham’s Imperial Buildings and will continue selling traditional sweets alongside the drinks.
One of Rotherham’s best known teetotallers was John Guest, who was a leading industrialist and alderman in the 19th century, and Mrs Chapman said she was hoping to have a drink named in his honour.
She added: “We first started serving the drinks,which cost 75p for half or £1.50 for a pint, last Saturday and you couldn’t get a seat in here – it was fantastic.
“Almost every town centre in Yorkshire would have had a Temperance bar at some time, and lots of older people have been and shared their memories.
“But the younger ones like it too – we’ve had lots of college students who say it’s ‘cool’.”