Bar owner vows to go stone cold sober

By Sonya Bateson

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Encouraging people to give up the booze for Dry July goes against the grain for a Tauranga bar owner - but he thinks it's worth it.

Tav Levao, owner of Rehab Bar, and Pat Spellman, Drive host on Moana Radio, are giving up alcohol for the month to raise money for charity.

Avid social media users, both men will be charting their progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Mr Levao said the event came up on his Facebook feed and, when he found out what Dry July was all about, he quickly signed up.

He roped in five of his friends, including Mr Spellman, to take part as a team and hoped to raise $5000. "It kind of goes against my business because I want people to stop drinking but that's how I make my money. I see it every weekend in town, people drinking too much and coming to town already tanked up.

"My whole thing is: be responsible with your drinking. I own a bar and I'm encouraging people not to drink as much, even though it hurts my business."

Mr Levao said he would be attending a couple of birthday parties in July sober. Although Dry July supporters were able to buy a "Golden Ticket" for $25, giving them a free pass to drink for a night, he would not be taking that route.

Mr Spellman is also going to attempt to stop drinking soft drinks for the month - a big ask for someone with a 1.5-litre Coke a day habit.

He did not think a month without alcohol would be hard, despite his weekly alcohol intake being quite high.

"I added up how many glasses of wine I would drink in a week at the meetings and gatherings I attend. I didn't realise it was quite a bit, so I thought I'd give it a go. You don't realise how much your social life is connected to it until you go without. On average, I'd have a couple of bottles a week and I don't even like wine."

Another reason they were doing Dry July was to lose weight. "Cutting down on alcohol and fizzy drinks might cut down a bit of the love rolls," he said. "I think for some of the other members in the group it will be tougher than for Tav and I.

"Some of the others plan their weekends around drinking but I don't think I'll find it terribly hard. I think the fizzy factor will be much harder and my friends will enjoy me giving it up."

Mr Spellman said the drive also highlighted the number of Maori and Pacific Islanders who drank alcohol and it was good to have a "Maori fulla from a Maori station".

Follow the pair's progress on Twitter or Instagram - @tavonetwo and @patspellman.

 

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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