Sometimes, when we’re least expecting it, we hear of something so utterly, ridiculously quirky that it makes the hairs on the back of our necks stand up in excitement. This happened recently when we first read about a pop-up that was about to open in Borough Market called ‘Alcoholic Architecture,’ a walk-in cloud bar by Bompass and Parr where you inhale your drinks and absorb them from your eyeballs. As soon as we heard of this we knew we HAD to go and share our experience with you all.
And so it was we turned up at London Bridge tube station on a Wednesday evening, unprepared as to what to expect but bubbling over with intrigue and excitement. Just as we were about to cross the road we saw these merry revelers drink-cycling their way around the city…!
Dusk was descending over London and Borough market was deserted apart from the last few vendors closing down their stalls. After winding our way through the market we were soon standing outside a darkened entrance and speaking to a doorman dressed in white who, after confirming we were on the guest list, told us to head down the stairs.
This is where events began to become a little creepy. As we entered the dark passageway we became aware of a strange and slightly foreboding chanting music in the background and moments after came face to face with a glass cabinet full of skulls. Once downstairs we were greeted by staff who handed us a plastic cover to put on over our clothes and showed us a cubbie hole where we could leave our bags and coats if we wished. Giggling with excitement we nervously pulled the plastic curtains back and ventured inside.
Immediately in front of us was a bar and to the right the entrance to a seperate room with a neon sign above with the words ‘breathe responsibly.’ It felt as though we had descended into a gothic cave and half expected Dracula to turn up at any moment. One of the staff members did little to dispel this sensation by mentioning that there was also a live snake in each toilet! (Fortunately they are firmly locked away in a plastic container). The monk themed bar offers alcohol made by monks such as Chartreuse, Trappist beer and the old classic- Buckfast Tonic Wine.
We grabbed some cocktails at the bar and made our way into the vapour room where we were soon enveloped in a misty, alcoholic fog. The cloud is made up of a 1:3 ration of alcohol and mixer that is released via humidifiers into the room’s atmosphere and because it bypasses the liver is absorbed more quickly into the blood stream.
The deeper we ventured inside the thicker the haze seemed to be until we could only just make out the people standing right in front of us. There is something strangely liberating about the feeling of being lost in a cloud, as though you can lose yourself for a brief moment and reconnect with your inner child as you allow your senses to explore this unusual environment. The hour slot went by in a flash and it was with regret that, after one last shot at the bar, we headed back upstairs.
This is definitely one of the most fun and innovative bars we have ever been to and we recommend you make space in your diary to try it out for yourself. Just make sure you book in advance!
Tickets are £10 or £12.50 after 6pm for a 50 minute slot.
You can buy tickets from their website here.