Apparently these kinds of places are meant to cater to recovering alcoholics looking for an authentic bar feel. Sounds like the kind of place that would make me think 'I wish I was at a real bar with a real drink in my hand. It's actually not that bad. If you're there for friends or family. Then you bask in the warm light of not being a total mental case who can't stop drinking.
It kind of defeats the purpose of a bar to serve non-alcoholic beverages but if there is a demand for it or hipsters want to try something new then I do not see a problem with it. I really do not think they will be very popular but who knows in this day and age.
Bars should focus on becoming places for people to socialize rather than just drink. To facilitate this, there needs to be drinks that are suitable for non-drinkers, those who need to drive and people who just don't fancy alcohol that day. By providing more soft drinks at reasonable prices, bars could encourage a reduction in drink driving and an increase in the use of their facilities as social space rather than just somewhere to get drunk.
No, alcohol-free bars defeat the purpose of being a bar. Most bars offer some drinks without alcohol for those who want to attend a bar without consuming alcohol. However, the majority of people go to a bar solely for the purpose of consuming alcohol. If you want to have an alcohol-free beverage, why not go to a juice bar?