Last night, Onin.London visited Alcotraz – the notorious bar behind bars –  which has now opened in Hackney. The new Alcotraz has expanded storylines, three expansive Cell Blocks, 30 individual cells and seven secret rooms.

A completely unique experience, Alcotraz combines world-class cocktails with a theatrical storyline where the guests play a crucial part in the story. Guests – or more appropriately ‘inmates’ – are tasked with smuggling liquor past the Warden and getting it into the hands of some of Alcotraz’s longest-serving inmates, who then transform the contraband liquor into delicious cocktails.

Upon arrival we got to outsmart the guards by smuggling in a bottle of vodka into a bible then we donned orange jumpsuits and settled into a cell. We knew the premise that “serving” mixologists will sneakily deliver bespoke cocktails created using our smuggled-in spirits. What I wasn’t expecting as part of Alcotraz was the whole theatrical experience. For some reason I always thought it was just the costumes and the cocktail mixing in your cell, which is why I had always shied away from attending.

I’m so glad there was so much more! We found ourselves in a parole hearing in the Warden’s Office… we got denied! My friend and I were completely immersed the whole entire time. 

Other guests, smuggled liquor in the Laundry Room with notorious inmate Cassidy, met their lawyer on the other side of Visitation and were interrogated in the Interrogation Room. Maximum security inmates who really cause a ruckus, even find themselves in Solitary Confinement.

The cocktails were absolutely delicious and the mixologists were happy to create cocktails to our likely. It was definitely a fun night out!

Sam Shearman, creator of Alcotraz and founder of Inventive Productions says: “We are so excited that Alcotraz in London is now open. After five years of developing the Alcotraz brand and opening venues across the country, it feels incredible to put the focus back on London, the city where it all started, and launch a truly incredible flagship venue. This is our biggest project yet and offers scope to expand our storylines and offer an ever-increasing unique experience to guests. We are also truly excited about the charity partnerships that we have on the horizon which will help raise awareness of real-life issues within the justice system and provide support to a fantastic UK charity.”

Inventive Productions has also announceda partnership with the Innocence Project London (IPL), a UK charity that investigates claims of innocence from wrongfully convicted men and women in England and Wales. The partnership will provide opportunities for Inventive Productions to demonstrate its commitment to the education and enrichment of its customers and communities on issues relevant to their immersive experiences. It will also generate critical income and raise awareness of the work that the IPL carries out to correct and prevent miscarriages of justice. As part of the partnership, Inventive Productions will be donating a percentage from all Alcotraz tickets to IPL as well as promoting the cause to their audience with opportunities to donate and learn about IPL’s work.

Dr Louise Hewitt, Director of the IPL and Senior Lecturer at the University of Greenwich, comments: “There are innocent people in prison in England and Wales who have been convicted through our criminal justice system. This is evident in the year-on-year increase in the number of applications we receive as well as the number of students wanting to volunteer for us. The generous support from Inventive Productions will help us continue our work and support our ambitious goal of creating a fair and equal justice system for everyone.”

Booking Link: Price:
£36.99 per person, including four cocktails made from your smuggled in liquor

Opening times:
Monday – closed
Tuesday – 19:05
Wednesday – 19:05
Thursday – 18:35 and 19:05
Friday – 16:10, 16:40, 17:10, 18:35, 19:05, 19:35, 21:00, 21:30
Saturday – 11:30, 12:00, 12:30, 13:45, 14:15, 14:45, 16:10, 16:40, 17:10, 18:35, 19:05, 19:35, 21:00, 21:30, 22:00
Sunday – 14:15, 16:10, 16:40, 19:05

Unit 3B, Rosewood Building, Hackney Rd, London E2 8GY