In my most valiant attempt yet at Dry January, I humbly crumbled at this great mission on the 12th day of the month. If you ask me, 12 days is quite a strong stint at attempting sobriety for a 25-year-old who isn’t particularly religious and is in decent health. What’s most pleasing is I broke my Dry January at the most interesting of cocktail bars, a bar that puts immersive experience at the forefront of it’s offering, this bar in question is of course, Alcotraz. Alcotraz is a prison cocktail bar in Brick Lane that’s based on the historical, now closed down American prison, Alcatraz. The bar operates on a bring your own booze basis where their carefully chosen mixologists make bespoke cocktails with the bottle you’ve brought to the bar.
Upon entry, you’re immediately swept into this immersive experience where you’re told you need to smuggle your bottle in without the sergeants and guards noticing. With the bottle tucked into a pillow, you’re searched and then instructed to put on some orange prison overalls and directed to either your prison cell or to a bar/phone booth. What’s most impressive is how devoted the actors are to their role, the sergeants, guards and head of the prison, who is essentially bible basher, really work together to create this almost Shawshank Redemptionesque experience.
At the phone booth bar, your mixologist sneakily asks for your bottle and what would be your cocktail of choice whether it be sweet, fruity or sour, your mixologist – Alex on this occasion – has got you. The drinks come in tins and are very tasty with Alcatraz’s unique syrups and garnish choices. Whilst you sip you’re taken into the early 1900s with the head of the prison’s prayers and speeches, while his officers request for your handprint and do random cell checks to really create a realistic experience.
Aside of the tasty drinks, Alcotraz’ greatest appeal is the bar’s attention to detail to really create an immersive experience; from prison letters being pinned on walls, toilets in the cells and even a random selection of prisoners being taken into the hole to pay for their unexpected bad behaviour. And it’s the finer detail that our generation love, we love the experience but not only just an experience we love things to be realistic and that’s what Alcotraz have done successfully they’ve taken an experience that many young adults love to do but extended this by creating a totally immersive. This is one for someone who loves a change of experience and doesn’t have a phobia of prisons