Back from the Brink

Liverpool’s first ‘dry bar’ has opened its doors.

The Brink café on Parr Street, is unique in that 80% of the workforce are in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

Funded by London-based charity Action on Addiction, The Brink acts as a social hub for the city’s recovery community. As well as providing facilities for support meetings, it will also host musical performances and film nights and even the ‘Bikers’ Breakfast’, at which cyclists can come and get their bike fixed for free, perhaps sampling the food while they wait.

Any profits from the café are ploughed back into providing support for recovering addicts.

Opening The Brink (L-R): Jacquie Johnston-Lynch, Peter Spanton (of Spanton Beverages) and manager Carl Alderdice

Community Engagement Worker Damien Kelly explains the idea behind the project:

“When we started, we realised that people in recovery didn’t have anywhere to go after meetings that didn’t sell booze. This gives them a place to call home.”

Although The Brink will attract a very specific clientele – people who “have been to the brink and come back,” Damien says that anyone is welcome:

“I can’t stress that enough: the Brink is for everyone to enjoy. People are going to want to come and sit for two or three hours and enjoy a coffee or a nice meal here, only without the hostility that can be associated with alcohol.”

The promotion of health and well-being is top of The Brink’s agenda, especially where food is concerned. Damien explains that the chef turned down a number of other jobs when he heard about the premise of the cafe.

Damning figures released in August by Liverpool John Moores University revealed that the city tops the league tables for alcohol-related hospital visits, with 3,114 admissions for every 100,000 people.

But Damien is quick to set the record straight:

“There is a growing and burgeoning recovery community in Liverpool. This will increase awareness of that community and show that it’s not just people with brown paper bags.”


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