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People are pretty pissed off about the controversial prison-themed bar ‘Alcotraz’


This year London has already welcomed a cookie dough bar, Hello Kitty café and a pop-up peanut butter breakfast bar. But this month the bar on temporary concept venues was raised (or lowered, depending on how you feel about it) with the opening of a prison-themed drinking den called 'Alcotraz'.

Aside from the pun that’s as equally impressive as it is offensive, the Brick Lane-based boozing experience promised to ‘replicate the eerie atmosphere and mystery associated with prison life’.

If the thought of orange jumpsuit-clad selfies captioned with #GuantanamoBae ✌️ appearing in your Instagram feed makes you feel a bit gross, you’re not alone. After we made a video unveiling the controversial concept bar, comments rolled in condemning the trivialisation of a serious social issue. 

And it wasn’t just the prison theme that people found to be in poor taste – it’s the price, the hipsters who’ll pay it and, anyway, whatever happened to just going to the BLOODY PUB?

Matthew Kelly (NB: not of ‘Stars in Their Eyes’ fame) summed up everyone’s sentiments rather nicely.

Do you also feel a bit icky about the whole thing? Swerve the pop-up and spend your entry fee on something more prison-positive by donating to charity The Clink, who aid prisoner rehabilitation by teaching cookery skills (and run restaurants actually inside the prisons) that inmates can use once they’re out in the world again. 

For a more friendly pop-up experience, check out the new pug café coming to London


Anna Z

Am I the only one who thinks it's actually disgusting that people are making such an innocent idea into something criminal? Reading through comments on your Facebook post I've seen violent threats and abusive language which is much more distasteful than this bar can even try to be. It's a themed bar just like the Bletchley (ww2), ABQ (breaking bad/meth lab) and not to forget secret cinema who brought to life the likes of Shawshank Redemption in an incredibly vivid way. Are these receiving the same kind of negativity or is this just a particular news story that caught on more than others? I've visited the bar and it encourages nothing but having a good time while wearing an orange jumpsuit and having great cocktails in a themed setting (just like it's shown on your video!). I understand some people are sensitive to certain topics but I really think they have more serious issues to spend time on than a themed bar. I'd hate to imagine how much abuse Netflix gets from these organisations for the likes of TV shows such as Orange is the new black. Disappointed that someone like Time Out would encourage such aggressive viewpoints!