I’ve been to Alcatraz in San Francisco. Twice in fact. It’s an amazing experience. But I’m here today to tell you about somewhere with a similar name, but a different experience. Welcome to Alcotraz.
When I found out about this immersive prison cocktail experience, I knew I had to go. I put out a WhatsApp message to three of my girlfriends I knew would be up for it, tickets were booked and back in August we all congregated on Brick Lane at the entrance to Alcotraz.
Waiting outside, I glanced down to look at my phone, only to look back up and discover an Alcotraz security guard eyeballing me, asking in an American drawl ‘Are you doooone?’. ‘Yes!’ I squeaked.
We were led inside and thrown an orange boiler suit each, told to put them on and then shouted at to ‘GET IN SINGLE FILE’. These actors were taking their roles seriously, and it was equal amounts of terrifying and hilarious.
Put inside our cells, the prison warden then made his entrance to explain the rules. No alcohol of course. The security guard then handed out record card’s and we were instructed to fill these in with details of our crime.
As we settled into our cell, a prisoner arrived aka the cocktail guy, and smuggled our Bombay Sapphire to his bar prep area, creating cocktails throughout the evening. Four cocktails each, all different, all delicious.
During the evening, which lasts 1 hour 45 minutes, the warden and security guards marched us out of our cell, demanding us to hand over our record cards. They grilled us over the details, and to be honest I think they were finding it hard to keep a straight face, as they’d likely not experienced the sass of four kiwi girls. The whole experience was laugh out loud funny, even though we were scared to laugh out loud for fear of what insult might be thrown our way.
I even made it down to ‘The Hole’ that evening. I’m probably the only prisoner ever that jumped for joy when their prison number got called out, to be marched down to the hole with a few other inmates. I won’t ruin the surprise of what happened down there, just in case you’re planning on going to Alcotraz, which you absolutely should do!
We spent the evening laughing our heads off, taking a million photos, and sipping cocktails – actually more like sucking them back, we’d barely finish one and another would arrive! (Word of warning: make sure you’ve lined your stomach with food before your visit, some of us had to live and learn! HA!).
If you like the idea of wearing an orange boiler suit and being shouted at whilst drinking cocktails then I suggest you book your ticket NOW! Hahaha, my description sounds miserable, however this is one of my favourite experiences in my 17 years in London. It is truly brilliant! Trust this inmate, just go.