Bompas & Parr is an experience design studio based in London. Founded in 2007, the studio leads in flavour-based design experience, culinary research, and architectural installations. In July 2015, they combined all of this expertise, bringing a whimsical new venture to Borough Market in the form of Alcoholic Architecture, a bar where meteorology and mixology collide.
Featuring a walk-in cloud of breathable cocktail, the installation is the world’s first alcoholic weather system for your tongue. Set in a Victorian building, the bar takes over the basement – itself a former banana store for unripe fruit arriving from the West Indies. The installation has exploded drinks to the scale of architecture for a beautiful, inhabitable world that spatialises the world’s best cocktails and creates a fully immersive alcoholic environment. Literally.
Much like riding a log flume, clients are asked to don special protective suits (fancy plastic ponchos) before embarking into the splash zone, and are likely to leave feeling just as soused. The cloud is entirely composed of fine spirits and mixer at a ratio of 1:3 and made using powerful humidifiers to super-saturate the air.
With humidity at 140 percent, there is so much alcohol in the air, you can see less than a metre in front of you, but the high humidity level enhances flavour perception. By breathing the cocktail, alcohol bypasses the liver allowing you to consume 40 percent less (with correspondingly reduced calories) to feel the same effect!
Once inside, patrons can order further cocktails from a menu that complements the taste profile of the breathable beverage. Staying loyal to the community, many ingredients for the drinks list are sourced from Borough Market itself.
Interiors are inspired by a collision between Miami art deco, the faux-medievalism of Loudon in The Devils and augmented artwork by Tom Sewell. Staff uniforms are designed by Olivia Hegarty of Percival Clothing and combine the flair of the continental waiter with the ecclesiastical swagger of a dandified cleric.
Almost a year later, Alcoholic Architecture is channelling Ghanaian rhythms and safari house as their first club night drops. The aptly named Clouded Judgements will be hosted this bank holiday on 29 May.
Expect to get mixed up in the bacchanalian mist and afroparty beats of Percolate DJs Krywald & Farrer. The club will be serving beers, cocktails and the mighty ORIJIN, a Ghanaian bitters-based concoction that has specially been flown in from the plains. In keeping with its penchant for starting trends, Alcoholic Architecture will now be the first bar in London to put forth a menu entirely inspired by West African drinking cultures.
We couldn’t think of a better place to go for a suitably distorting bank holiday.
Bompas & Parr; bompasandparr.com
Alcoholic Architecture; alcoholicarchitecture.com