Crack Codes to Earn Drinks at London's New Spy-Themed Bar
If you’ve ever watched an episode of Sherlock and thought, “I could do that,” now’s your chance to dive into your personal mind palace and show off your smarts. The Bletchley, a new spy-themed bar in London, requires that you crack a code before they’ll serve you a cocktail. Named for Bletchley Park, the top-secret site where Alan Turing and his fellow codebreakers tinkered with the Enigma machine during World War II, guests of The Bletchley are handed an army jacket upon entry, given a briefing and seated at a table with their very own Enigma machine.
Located in a hidden, bunker-like space in the back of a Chelsea pub (the address will only be disclosed once you confirm your reservation), the bar is the brainchild of Seb Lyall’s Lollipop — the same company behind ABQ London, a Breaking Bad-themed bar, and The Bunyadi, London’s infamous "naked restaurant." Patrons can choose from two different experiences: Cryptic Cocktails, a two-hour reservation that includes three cocktails (one welcome drink and two cryptic ones) for £29.99 (about $37) per person, or The Double, which will get you six cocktails over the course of four hours in the bunker room for £54.55 (about $68) per person.
With a welcome drink in hand, guests are tasked with completing a series of tests which are meant to both tease the brain and whet the appetite for libations. The brilliant part is that each puzzle is actually helping to decode the drinker’s flavor and even odor preferences, with every response translating into a customized — and one-of-a-kind — cocktail. You’ll radio your codes to the bar as you get them.
"This is our first step towards creating a truly personalized cocktail menu," Lyall said in a press statement. “We will also be exploring techniques involving the genetic code and DNA and strive to understand unique taste preferences." For the moment, they’re sticking with the Enigma machine — and it’s proven to be a very popular night out.
Reservations, which are required, can be made online, but they can be as tough to get as some of the codes that came across Turing’s desk — at one point, the bar had a waiting list of 7,000 people. But if your dates are flexible and you don’t mind a late-night drink (we were offered a couple of midnight spots), you’d better get cracking. Though no official closing date has been reported, reservations are currently only being accepted through the end of May. The game is on!
All images courtesy of The Bletchley.