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Banged up in Brighton!

Girl About Sussex Reviews Alcotraz Cocktail Bar.

 

My name’s Tick Tock, I am 48 years old, and I’ve just been transferred to Alcotraz Penitentiary. My crime? Bootlegging. My cellmate is known as ‘Ice Pick Willie’ and at 57 years’ old, he is 12 years into his sentence for money laundering. My husband and I were sat in Cell Block One Three on Brighton Seafront at Alcotraz, a secret basement speakeasy prison cocktail bar.

We arrived early and were not sure we were even in the right place, though we had followed the Google Maps directions to a t! Beside some scaffolding, we saw a door with Alcotraz written on it, but it looked derelict and there was no answer when I knocked on the door…taking a big step back just in case! After wandering up and down the street for a minute or two, we spotted a security guard coming out, who told us that we were in the right place and that a guard would be up to escort us to prison momentarily.

Another 20 or so guests arrived whilst we were waiting, and we instantly felt the safety in numbers. We didn’t quite know what we were in for this evening!

A female guard arrived and sternly welcomed us to Alcotraz in full American character. It was quite satisfying when a woman in her early 20s got a light-hearted telling off for speaking on her phone when the guard was going through important Covid protocols and procedures for the show. The girl was on the phone to her friends who were lost, and a minute later when they arrived, they also received a telling off for timekeeping. One man had obviously already had a beer or two prior and told the guard that she looked sexy in her uniform. The guard responded very quickly with a sharp one-liner “thank you, but I wouldn’t want to go anywhere near you, I don’t like being disappointed”. The whole group erupted into laughter.

Each booking was placed in their own bubble and one by one we were called to enter the prison. We were taken to the basement by a male guard who gave us our orange jump suits and took away our belongings. Alcotraz is BYOB so we took miniature bottles of gin and rum – the guard had to see all bottles were unopened for security and safety reasons – and he gave us a teddy bear to hide them in with clear instructions to tell the warden that it was an ’emotional support bear’.

We were led by the guard to our cell, Cell B, which is where we met The Warden, played by the super talented Tabitha Wild. She didn’t take any nonsense and demanded we went straight to our cell, get our suits on and sit down. Another guard then came over and told us he was from the kitchen. He asked us if we had any managed to smuggle in any ingredients for our ‘special soup’, so we handed him the teddy bear full of our booze. We had successfully passed our first task of the evening!

Social distancing was very easy as groups were kept to six and everyone had their own cell or canteen table. Within minutes we were donning our vile orange jump suits – let’s be honest, neither the colour or style is flattering – and two cocktails were delivered in tinned mugs to our cell. The serving mixologists create concoctions from the liquor you bring and during the event, we enjoyed four very different and cocktails.

Our fellow inmates were full of life as they took their seats for the immersive show and the vibe was electric. There was so much laughter and chatting which came to a swift stopped when The Warden told us to quiet down. We were all given our own ID Card to choose our aliases for the night. Each of the visitors had a new identity and a criminal record of their choosing.

Throughout the one hour and 45-minute show, the characters kept us all engaged with the play. Each cell was taken for Mug Shots and then groups were taken in turn to ‘The Hole’ for punishment. A bootleg diary had been hidden in our cell, and The Warden was fuming! We were marched to the now infamous ‘Hole’ where we were told to sit down on tiny stools. Our punishment was to take a shot – a combination of all the liquor the guests had bought.

As the show unfolded, we began to make friends with the dodgy guards and the story unravelled to a climatic end – no spoilers here, don’t worry!

The actors were all brilliant and kept everyone engaged throughout. The cocktails were divine, and the atmosphere was buzzing. We left a little buzzing ourselves after the combo of cocktails and enjoyed a lovely walk along the seafront afterwards.

Alcotraz is a wonderful addition to Brighton, a city always so full of fun. The seafront location certainly makes it easier for all the contraband smuggling!

I cannot recommend it highly enough; we had a fantastic night in an exciting world of mischief!

Alcotraz has three other locations in London and Manchester, and offers virtual experiences.

The Canteen Table tickets start from £29.99 per person and Cell Seating within one of the prison cells costs from £35.99 per person.

Book now: www.alcotraz.co.uk

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