We tried out Manchester’s controversial Alcotraz-themed cocktail bar
Spoiler: It’s very intense but fun
If you’re bored of a regular, relaxing cocktail experience – and you’re not afraid of being labelled the “Fallowfield fiddler” as you drink – this wacky Alcotraz -themed bar in Spinningfields is a must visit.
Tasked with smuggling your own alcohol in a hollow Bible past corrupt guards and a very intense warden, once you reach your cell an “inmate” cocktail connoisseur arrives.
They take the alcohol you’ve smuggled in and turn it into a wonderful concoction of fresh fruit and booze, which is then brought back to you in a suitable prison-themed tin cup.
But as you drink, inmates parade around the block asking you questions – it’s like being in the middle of a play, knowing at any minute you could suddenly become an extremely unprepared main character.
The warden – who, like the inmates, did not break character once – will summon you into his office for registration.
Expect to be grilled on why you’re serving time behind bars, your physical status and your prison nickname.
We were also pulled into “the hole” to meet with a brilliant character, inmate Cassidy, who gives off very strong Red from Shawshank vibes.
You must negotiate a smuggling deal with him, and you’ll be given a shot at the end to toast the new relationship.
The unique bar has sparked controversy and some even started a petition to get it banned.
But organisers said the bar’s theme is based on cult American entertainment – such as Orange Is The New Black, Prison Break and the Shawshank Redemption – rather than the “real-life difficulties and harsh realities of prison systems today.”
Throughout your sentence, expect to meet a cast of dodgy characters and a bootlegging gang “ready to transform illicit liquor into bespoke, delicious, contemporary and classic cocktails.”
Sam Shearman, the creator of the themed bar, said the Manchester version is bigger and more ambitious than the two other bars in Brighton and London.
He said: “The experience has been so popular that within a very short period of time we were able to grow the Alcotraz brand to have multiple sites.
“We are now absolutely thrilled to bring this unique concept to Manchester and launch our biggest and most ambitious Alcotraz to date”.
If you fancy braving the experience (and we recommend you do) it’ll set you back £29.99 for seats within the general prison commissary area and £35.99 for seats in a prison cell. You can book your visit here.