Bompas and Parr are notorious for designing quirky and immersive environments. Their latest endevour; a bar featuring a walk-in cloud of breathable cocktail which claimed to get you 'drunk through your eyes'; sounded like something I had to experience.
The bar sits next to the UK’s earliest gothic cathedral and on the site of an ancient monastery. Greeted by medieval costume-clad doormen, we wound our way underground. There was a snake tank in the toilet. With marked anticipation, we donned transparent rain-poncho-esque garments ("it can get sticky inside...") before being led through bucher shop PVC strip curtains to an antichamber from which you could see blurred forms of bodies in the 'cloud' room beyond.
It was like nothing I'd ever exerienced; it felt like an apocalypitic world with murky zombie figures drifting all around you. The air - entirely composed of fine spirits and mixer at a ratio of 1:3 - was hot and thick, making it hard to breathe. You couldn't see your hand stretched out in front of you. Our ponchos became sticky from the condensation; you could feel it on your skin. We saw a couple on a first date clearly regretting their venue choice.
But what an experience. Being skeptical at the effect of spending 45 minutes in the cloud, we were surprised to actually feel a bit drunk on leaving and the London air outside never felt so fresh.