Inspired by the popularity of shows like Orange is the New Black, which take you inside the lives of prisoners, a new pop up bar is opening in London, cleverly called Alcotraz. Named after America’s most notorious prison, you and your friends can hang behind bars for a night, wearing the signature orange jumpsuit.
You’ll have to “sneak” in with your own alcohol, which will then be transformed by bartenders also dressed as inmates into a custom cocktail crafted around your personal tastes.
Billed as an “immersive experience”, you and your friends will become inmates upon crossing the threshold to the bar, where the bar’s staff, termed “working inmates” will provide your party with jumpsuits, before leading you to a “cold, metallic cell”.
The design of the space is intended to evoke “the eerie atmosphere and mystery associated with prison life, offering a world of unique escapism whilst serving delicious, experimental cocktails.”
Not only will the bar require “convicts” to smuggle in their own booze, they plan on staffing the bar with wardens from whom you’ll have to hide it.
The concept originated with Sam Shearman, who described the experience in a public statement saying, “Alcotraz is split into various cells to cater for gangs of convicts and also a visitation area for smaller groups. Once inside guests should aim to keep their drinking a secret from the Warden, who is not aware of the wrong doings taking place in his prison.”
Don’t expect the ambience to be complimented by your standard pop hits. Rather, the experience will be accompanied by acoustic music provided by other “inmates”. Shearman says the idea is not to romanticize prison life, but to provide a first hand experience that most only see on their screens. Of course, the pop up also allows for greater creativity.
Shearman says, “Our ambition is to redefine traditional cocktail bar environments. Where in traditional bars cocktails are ordered from menus and restricted to the owners design, we are trying to allow guests to bring their own drink of choice and have cocktails made specifically for them.”
Opening September 24 and operating until December 17, you can expect each sentence in Alcotraz to last for a minimum 1 hour and 45 minutes, plus a $39 “fee”, which will also include 4 personalized cocktails. Just don’t forget to bring the booze, or you may be sentenced for life.