Don the orange jumpsuit, get assigned to a cell and then while away your time with drinks – if you managed to smuggle some booze in. Welcome to London’s latest immersive experience, Alcotraz Bar Brick Lane!
*Full disclosure – my entry to Alcotraz was free in return for this review, all opinions are my own!*
Alcotraz Bar Brick Lane
Alcotraz is kind of a mash up between BYOC (bring your own cocktail) and Secret Cinema, in that you pay for 2 hours of entertainment, but you bring your own booze. Whilst I was interested to see what this would result in, I was also a little conflicted being in the process of reading about someone’s real life prison experience at a Texan prison. (The book is Gang of One by Gary Mulgrew and if Alcotraz was going to be as hard as that – I wasn’t going!)
So what happens?
When we arrived we had to wait outside until our entry time of 9:30pm. Then you are led inside to the first room in groups of about 6. This is where you check your coats and get your orange prison jumpsuit to put on over your clothes. Joanne in our group struggled to get her jumpsuit on and the guards made sure to tease her a lot about this.
Top tip – don’t dress up, no one will see it under the jumpsuit!
Next you are taken to your ‘cell’ or seat (cells take 2-4 people but some couples were seated at the bar area also). The music playing added to the tension as we were completely uncertain on what was going to happen.
Our cell was for 4 and had a ‘bed’ and ‘toilet’ (not real obviously, but still freaky detail!). There were also details referring to the TV show Orange is the New Black scattered around the cells.
The warden offers you ‘holy water’ (as obviously he’s a Southern tee total bible basher), more on that later….
When the room is all seated then the warden starts his preaching and sets out the rules.
As well as the preacher there are two guards – they played their roles very well! There are also four ‘fellow prisoners’ in orange who are allowed behind the bar to make your drinks. They come to your cell and smuggle your alcohol out under their clothes, before returning with your cocktails in tin cans.
As you may have expected you are paying for the immersive experience, rather than the drinks here. So obviously they like to make the most of your time banged up at Alcotraz.
The guards searched our cell for contraband – luckily they didn’t spot our hidden bottles of booze. However they did find *shock horror* a random book that the warden suspected related to devil worship. This resulted in Gemma and I being interrogated about dancing naked in the showers! (I really struggled not to laugh in their faces then). Given that I couldn’t trust myself to speak without laughing, I didn’t say anything. I suspect the experience would be more fun if you answered back….
Joanne also got dragged off to solitary confinement (for giggling and disrespecting the warden). This didn’t seem too bad as she ended up playing cards with the guards and drinking some prison made hooch! There was also an exorcism performed by the warden on one of the other inmates who was much more rowdy than us. So you can get a lot more involved if you want to.
The drinks – or rather cocktails…
We took 2 gins (one Da Mhile seaweed gin – yes that was me!), a vodka and a whisky.
‘Porn star martini’ – with the vodka and passionfruit as the main ingredients and maybe a vanilla syrup. Not the most inspired perhaps and quite sweet.
Da Mhile gin with apple, lemon and fresh mint. This was like a gin based take on a julep, very refreshing and the apple and mint worked well with the savoury seaweed gin.
Sipsmiths gin drink – this is the one I didn’t drink. I’m not sure what I didn’t like exactly, but it wasn’t going down well!
Whisky Sour – did what it said on the tin (literally!). This was well balanced and easy to drink.
What’s the deal?
It’s £33 for a 2 hour booking. This gets you your jumpsuit and 4 cocktails made by the staff. But…. you do need to bring your own booze! They recommend one bottle of spirits between 2 – we brought a half bottle each, so we had 4 cocktails with 4 different spirits.
The drinks are hit and miss – a little over sugared and lots of ice. As you get no say in the cocktail except the booze (and they do check for allergies), then it’s entirely possible that you’ll get something that is not to your taste. But out of the 4 cocktails there was only one that I didn’t like (I know – rare for me!)
So this happened last night…. I was banged up at Alcotraz for crimes against humanity!!! . ❓does orange suit me❓? . Luckily we managed to smuggle some liquor in and had some drinks to pass the time of our sentences! Big thanks to @lovepopupslondon for organising this trip to @alcotrazlondon – blog coming soon! . #alcotraz #alcotrazbar #alcotrazlondon #londonbars #drinkupldn #lovepopupslondon #whatskatiedoing #imbibegram #imbibe #instacocktail #happyhour #instadrinks #drinkstagram #womenwhodrink #spirits #spiritsblogger #drinkup #booze #feedfeed
Not one for a first date – that could be too awkward. But definitely round up a group of friends and head on down if you are willing to embrace prison life and act the part!
You can book tickets online at Design My Night – walk ins are not taken.
*Full disclosure* My entry to Alcotraz was free in return for this honest review.
Big thanks to Joanne from Love Pop Ups London for organising our trip to Alcotraz!
Joanne M says
It really was such a fun night I can’t believe that I needed help in dressing in the orange jumpsuit. Such a laugh.
Katie Hughes says
It was fun – you got some great photos too Joanne!
I’m not sure I cold have done that experience. A little to prison like for me, but I bet you had a great time! Looks fun 🙂
Preethika GN says
Is 33€ worth the experience?? It seems like one of a kind experience though. We also have a Indian restaurant called Kaidi Kitchen (Inmates kitchen) where the waiters are dressed in police uniform and we sit in cells and eat.
Katie Hughes says
I do see it as expensive – but it’s all about the experience… how is Kaidi Kitchen?
I am sure it was great for the experience. Not sure if I would do it volunteerly ?
And I think orange is quite your color….
Katie Hughes says
Hahaha thanks Ethel!
Karen Giuliana says
This sounds like such a fun night with old friends! I don’t know how I feel about the jumpsuit but it’s still cute. Your photos really caught the location well too!
Katie Hughes says