Courtesy of Alcotraz

In true prison fashion, you even have to "smuggle" your own hooch past the guards at this BYOB cocktail bar.

Mike Pomranz
September 01, 2017

No one wants to go to prison. Among the many, many reasons this is true is that it's extremely tough to score a decent cocktail on the inside. But if for some reason you've been longing toy do time and drink, a new pop-up bar arriving this month in London should help fulfill your criminal fantasies: the prison-themed Alcotraz 212 Brick Lane London E1 6SA.

Fitting perfectly among the growing list of "Which came first the punny name or the actual idea?" concepts, Alcotraz—which is a damn good name—is built around humorous contradictions. Billed as "an immersive drinking experience of the highest kind," the pop-up's website states, "From the orange jumpsuits upon entrance, to the cold metallic cells, Alcotraz becomes the perfect backdrop to enjoy a drink within an epic yet intimate environment."

After receiving an inmate number and jumpsuit (which is required attire "to ensure you are easily identifiable to avoid escape until released"), guests will have to "smuggle" a bottle of liquor inside—and the bar isn't lying. Alcotraz is BYOB. "Our inmates have found that a 350ml bottle of spirit per person is the easiest to get past the warden," the bar's website states in its FAQs. "If you are splitting a bigger bottle between two inmates, we will find a way to smuggle it. Please bring base spirits such as vodka, gin, rum, tequila or whisky."

Once behind bars, "you won't find a set menu of drinks here… after all, it is prison!" Instead, the bar offers "a range of tailored cocktails every night based on the liquor you bring and your tastes" served in discreet containers, of course, lest you get "caught by the warden." "Whilst being a hugely fun experience, Alcotraz will allow visitors to experience a world only seen by most in fiction," said Sam Shearman, founder of Inventive Productions, the company behind the bar.

The pop-up, described as London's first prison-inspired cocktail bar (How did it take this long?!), can accommodate up to 30 people who can choose "to sit either in cells or in the visitation area." Bookings for the space, which will be open for three months starting on September 28, cost £30 which includes "your prison pack for the duration of the sentence, minimum 4 cocktails from your smuggled liquor of choice + 1 hour 45 minutes inside the prison." Reservations are currently open.