This new immersive pop-up bar in Shoreditch is styled after the notorious maximum-security prison, Alcatraz, which was operational in the US until the 1960s. If you thought the last London prohibition-era speakeasy you visited was committed to its theme, then you’re in for a surprise.

On entering Alcotraz, you’re brought into an intermediate room where you’re initiated by prison guards as the “new fish on the block”. You’re set up with your own orange jumpsuit and inspected for contraband – which you better not have forgotten! This is a BYOB bar and the booze you smuggle in goes towards the 4 drinks covered by your ticket price. The prison staff-cum-bartenders will whip you up some mighty fine cocktails with your drink of choice. They’re bound to be the best cocktails you’ve ever had from a tin can.

credit: Matt Martin Photography

Once ushered into the main bar block you’re sat either by the bar/visiting windows or in a small cell. Sneak drinks back and forth as the warden, walking up and down the corridor beating bible verses and condemning your crimes, has his back turned.

Expect plenty of Instagram ops as you rattle your tin mug against the cell bars, quoting your favourite Scarface lines, and have a read of the postcards, letters, photographs and tallies lining the prison walls (not-so-fun-fact: Al Capone was imprisoned in Alcatraz for 5 years). The small bar has limited space and sessions throughout the evening, ensuring that everyone gets a comfortable Alcotraz experience without overcrowding.  

A night of maximum security boozing will set you back £30 per person, and will sentence you to a slot of 1 hour and 45 minutes. At four drinks a ticket, with alcohol you provide yourself, it’s not necessarily the most cost-effective bar to begin a night out – but that’s not the point. Pay for the experience of what is essentially theatre with drinks and a lot of laughs; try your hand at chatting with the prison guards and getting them to break character as you pedal off your backstory of how you murdered your husband’s lover’s brother.

Alcotraz is closing mid December and then back in January, so if you’ve got sins to atone for, wrangle together a few more menaces to society and pop in between Wednesday and Sunday evenings.

212 Brick Lane, London E1 6RL