As more people pursue health and wellness-driven lifestyles, alcohol-free bars continue to gain in popularity around the world.

But what about people who usually drink but are temporarily unable to, such as moms-to-be? Although this may not be unique to Japan, many future moms may feel social pressure to refrain from activities typically associated with unmarried life such as going to bars or nightclubs once they are married, and especially once they are pregnant. Even if it's a sober bar, since they are still a minor trend in Japan, the prevailing image of bars may make it difficult for moms-to-be to visit them.

One Japanese company decided to do something about this. They talked to female employees who were pregnant or had previously taken maternity leave and this is some of the feedback they received:

  • "It's the hot summer season... I can't say it out loud, but even moms-to-be really want to drink!"
  • "It's hard for me. I can't drink for about two years because I have to breastfeed. Meanwhile, my husband is drinking beside me!"
  • "(During pregnancy), it feels lonely not having a separate space where I can enjoy good food, drink, and chat with my friends."

This feedback sparked an idea: Why not open up a mocktail bar specifically designed for moms-to-be?

The company behind the research was Rokko Butter Co., who make one of Japan's most popular cheese products, QBB Baby Cheese. The square cheeses, individually wrapped in foil and packaged vertically in strips, come in numerous varieties and can be found everywhere from convenience stores to supermarkets all over Japan, and are typically enjoyed as snacks.

The concept came out of the company's ongoing "QBB Baby Cheese for mom" project, which aims to provide support to pregnant women with healthy, fun, and enjoyable food. Some of the previous results of the project include an infographic visualizing the thoughts and impressions of mothers who have experienced pregnancy and childbirth, a manga about moms-to-be, and surveys on marital relationships during pregnancy, all of which they have documented online on their "QBB Baby Cheese for moms' notes.

Rokko Butter decided to team up with Mockteria, Kobe's first restaurant specializing in mocktails. Mockteria's popular non-alcoholic creations are crafted with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Diners can also enjoy delicious food prepared by an Italian chef.

Ninpu Bar by Mockteria

Mockteria will be hosting a special limited-time bar called "ニンプバー by Mockteria." ニンプ is 妊婦 ninpu (literally "pregnant woman"), but written in the katakana syllabary. This is a marketing technique sometimes used to lend a more casual or trendy feeling to words that may come across as too serious or staid in kanji.

Merits of the Ninpu Bar

  • 1. Give moms-to-be a break from their daily routine to go to a bar, have a drink and unwind with original mocktails specifically designed with them in mind. This is a great way for moms-to-be to experience the atmosphere of a bar, which they have been avoiding since becoming pregnant, and to refresh themselves.
  • 2. Give moms-to-be some special time to enjoy alone with their husbands or together with friends. It's not easy for moms-to-be to go on trips, especially in the later months of their pregnancy. The Ninpu Bar is a great way for them to enjoy conversation and create special memories.
  • 3. Moms-to-be can use Ninpu Bar as a space where they can share their thoughts and concerns. A special notebook is also provided for that purpose. Hopefully, this can help them through what can sometimes be an anxious time.

Cocktail Lineup

コーンニチハアカチャン Corn-nichiwa Akachan

An exquisite mocktail bursting with corn. The creamy and rich flavor is just like "drinking corn ice cream". Once you try it, "you'll be addicted!" The name is a play on words inspired by こんにちは赤ちゃん konnichiwa akachan (Hello baby), a famous 1963 song by Michiyo Azusa.

Ingredients: Corn puree, roasted corn, milk, honey, lemon-infused olive oil, pepper, and edible flowers

Price: 935 JPY (incl. tax)

ピッチピーチベイビー Pitchi Peach Baby

Luscious white peaches and pineapple juices are kissed with the refreshing taste of sudachi citrus. This is a refreshing mocktail that looks and tastes like summer. The name plays on the mimetic word ピッチピチ pitchi pichi (a more emphatic variant of ぴちぴち pichi pichi), which means "young, vigorous and energetic."

Ingredients: White peaches, white peach juice, Monin Peach Purée, pineapple juice, sudachi, and edible flowers

Price: 935 JPY (incl. tax)

ニンプリモアモーレ Ninpurimo Amore

A portmanteau of ninpu and one of Mockteria's signature cocktails, the プリモアモーレ Primo Amore (meaning "first love" or "childhood sweetheart" in Italian), this slightly rearranged mocktail combines the refreshing sweetness of orange and the tartness of grapefruit with the aroma of pomegranate.

Ingredients used: Grenadine syrup, frozen pomegranate, fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice, dried orange slices, soda water.

Price: 825 JPY (incl. tax)

Snack Set

Mockteria's Italian chef has also prepared a plate of snacks for you to enjoy with your choice of special mocktails, featuring two types of cheese, QBB Baby Cheese with Cream Cheese and QBB Cheese Dessert 6P Madagascar Vanilla.

Ingredients: QBB Baby Cheese with Cream Cheese, QBB Cheese Dessert 6P Madagascar Vanilla, Italian crackers: tomato and basil, nuts, mint, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, jam, and honey.

Price: Set with Corn-nichiwa Akachan or Pichi Peach Baby 1,650 yen (inc. tax), Set with Ninpurimo Amore 1,540 yen (inc. tax).

Ninpu Bar by Mockteria Details

  • Period: July 1st to July 15th, 2022. Closed on Thursdays
  • Opening hours: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Where: Mockteria
  • Address: 神戸市中央区中山手通1-2-7 ゴールデン会館ビル1F | Golden Kaikan Bldg. 1F, 1-2-7 Nakayamate-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe
  • Eligibility: Pregnant women in the "stable period" between 16 and 36 weeks.
  • Notes: Please refrain from coming if you are not feeling well or if you have been instructed by a doctor to rest.
  • Reservations (in Japanese only)

By - grape Japan editorial staff.