Immersive theatrical drinking as you put your orange jumpsuit on and get sent to death row at this speakeasy prison. Here’s our Alcotraz Manchester review.
Located in Manchester very close to Victoria station lies Alcotraz, one of four UK locations where you smuggle liquor past the Warden into a prison and interact with inmates and guards in this immersive and quite frankly superb experience.
Before your experience begins you receive an email from inmate Cassidy who informs you of a smuggling operation where you must bring your own liquor into the prison and he’ll sort you out.
We picked up a 1L bottle of vodka that we managed to get into the prison hidden within a coat (no strip searches in this prison thankfully) and when we entered the prison I was genuinely impressed.
It wasn’t the copy-and-paste cheap escape room-type prisons you see up and down the country. This place looked rundown it was perfectly lit and each cell was your home for the experience and even that was themed with sinks, a toilet and a random assortment of items to add to the cell theming.
An inmate welcomed me to prison and we handed our vodka over before he disappeared and returned with not one, not two, but three cocktails throughout the 90-minute (roughly) experience.
I’m not a huge fan of Vodka but you couldn’t taste it n this wonderful mix of cocktails where you could ask for anything you wanted (within reason) using your liquor.
Whilst we are sipping away on our chicken soup (prison code for alcohol) a story was unfolding before our eyes revolving around the warden, a crooked guard and inmate Cassidy.
It was great watching this story unfold and we were firmly in the story. From helping inmate Cassidy to acquire some information (for a free shot might I add) to entering the Warden’s office and being interviewed. With our jumpsuits on we were firmly in the story and completely immersed in the tale, the actors were weaving.
Speaking of the actors, they were superb! Even when I was trying to get them to break character they would laugh but carry on speaking with New York accents. When I tried to trip one of the actors up on US baseball teams even then they spun it around and perfectly led all conversations forward with amazing improv skills. Hats off to them, they were very very good indeed! I can’t imagine their job is easy especially if there are rowdy groups in the venue over a weekend etc
Liquors, bitters and syrups combine to deliver wonderful drinks and for the price, you’ve basically paid for a bar area and a show I thought the entry fee was reasonable. You’re paying for the actors’ time and for the bar staff behind the scenes to keep you going during a hard stint in prison.
Alcotraz is heavily inspired by Hollywood movies and TV, from the accents and the storylines you’re catapulted straight onto a movie set. It really is a one-of-a-kind experience and even sitting in a cell with a few strangers, we ended up making some friends in prison as we all worked together.
One hour went by and I somehow ended up with a toothpick in my mouth utterly convinced that I was an absolute badass. In fact, when the experienced ended I wanted to just stay there and hang out longer, it was such a cool space to be!
Check out our VLOG of the experience below:
I was blown away by the acting on display and blown away with vodka (wasn’t my choice of spirit) cocktails that actually were not only drinkable but enjoyable!
Alcotraz: Cell Block Three-Four tickets range from £26-£38 we went on a busy bank holiday weekend and still managed to get a slot. All the staff (before entry) were accommodating and really good with us and the actors all felt like friends whilst we were inside, it’s hard to explain. It felt like we’d known them awhile and getting them on side would be key to our survival in prison.
I want to assure anyone reading that there is NO shower time (I was relieved too) but you absolutely must check out this wonderful experience in the heart of Manchester.