Basically, this week I ate a lot of food…

Pancake Day

So I celebrated Shrove Tuesday twice. Technically three times if you count London Mardi Gras last week.

On the actual day I had half price pancakes from Giraffe in Notting Hill. £3.48 for pancakes stacked with maple syrup, blueberry compote and banana. Bargain. I’m a sweet pancake person.

giraffe

And I couldn’t resist a second round when I was in The Diner in Shoreditch on Wednesday. The Diner do amazing Red Velvet Pancakes all year round (and Sweet Potato Pancakes with or without bacon, which I’ve never tried), but they were slightly cheaper this week and there were three specials; Reese’s Pieces, Spiced Apple and Oreo Cookie. All priced at £7.50.

I was tempted by the Spiced Apple, but when I read the description of the Oreo Cookie (three Oreo pancakes, marshmallow fluff cream, broken Oreos and icing sugar) I had to go with them. Marshmallow gets me every time.

oreopancakes

Elite Night at Bubbleology with Yelp

You might have noticed I’ve become quite involved with Yelp lately. No doubt I’ll tell you about that a bit more in the not too distant future, but to summarise, as well as being a pretty damn good review site, Yelp have an awesome community and host regular events, most with a few perks.

Tuesday night they hosted a night at Bubbleology in Notting Hill for their new Elite members (Elite members are selected based on their contribution to the site and community, you can read more here) as a little welcome. We were treated to copious amounts of bubble tea (I have strong feelings for bubble tea), macaroons, cookie straws and popcorn. It was a good night.

bubbleology

Cocktails In The City Preview

On Wednesday I was over the moon to have been invited to the preview of next months Cocktails In The City event in the swanky Apartment at The Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch. Alcohol companies teamed up with high profile London bars to showcase their products and some of the cocktails they’ll be serving at the main event.

cahoots2

You can read all about the preview here.

Blindfold Date

After a few cocktails at Cocktails In The City, we headed down to Concrete in Shoreditch for a bit of entertainment in the form of Blindfold Date (you may recall me mentioning the event in my Anti-Valentines post).

blindfold

It was a good evening, a bit different to what I usually get up to! It wasn’t really a dating event, although a tombola was used to select contestants from the audience, more for entertainment really. It was fun!

Slipknot at Genting Arena, Birmingham

I couldn’t make the London date, so on Friday I went all the way up to Genting Arena in Birmingham for Slipknot. It was a good choice, because I was basically side stage with an amazing view!

slipknotbrum

You’ll know by now how much love I have for this band, and they were so good! They were supported by Sikth and Suicidal Tendencies, the latter who I’m a big fan of. And I had the chance to catch up with a couple of good friends I hadn’t seen in a while too.

Valentines Star Wars Tattoos

It was a quiet Saturday, I just met up with my friend Kat to get some cute Star Wars tattoos from Haunted in Holloway. It was my first time getting tattooed by the studio owner, Allan Graves – he was great and I spontaneously booked in with him to start a True Romance thigh piece in a couple of months!

allan

Anyway, this time he tattooed a heart shaped Death Star and heart shaped Darth Vader helmet on my thigh. I love them! Kat had a heart shaped R2D2 on one foot and a heart shaped C3PO on the other.

darth

After, we met up with Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat and had a bite to eat at Pump in Shoreditch. There will be a post on Pump coming soon!

L xx

All photos my own.

 

 

It’s no secret I love a good cocktail, so I was delighted to be invited to the preview event for Cocktails In The City in the plush Apartment at The Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch.

cahoots cocktails in the city

If you aren’t familiar with it, Cocktails In The City is a three day celebration of Londons internationally renowned bar scene which is held across two weekends in 2016 – 10th to 12th March and 29th to 31st July. The March event will be held at One Mayfair, a beautiful Grade 1 listed building, formerly St Marks Church (you can see some pics of the venue from when I was there for Bulmers Live Colourful Live last year).

Cocktails In The City will showcase twenty London bars across three floors, as well as a few from other European cities including Little Red Door from Paris, Door 74 from Amsterdam and Ruby from Copenhagen.

It’s designed to be an immersive experience – guests will be able to try drinks from top bartenders, many of which will feature some more unusual and rare ingredients. As well as the cocktails on offer, there will be tastings, interactive demonstrations and entertainment.

I love how they’re planning to layout the event. In the Crypt (and obviously I’m dying to visit the crypt!) you’ll find some of Londons hottest newly opened establishments for concept cocktails. The Grand Hall (where Live Colourful Live was held) will house world famous cocktail bars serving classic drinks as well as creative cocktail themed dining at the feasting table. The aforementioned international guest bars can be found on the mezzanine level, and at the rooftop bar (which apparently has a spectacular view) you can enjoy a barbecue.

At the preview we had the chance to try some of the concept cocktails and watch how they were made. It was great fun!cahoots cocktails in the city

Cahoots in Soho, a bar which I’m yet to visit (and which features on my bucket list) was obviously my first stop. They’d teamed up with Martin Miller’s Gin and Fentimans (a bit off topic but I love Fentimans soft drinks in cocktails after trying a few at their Greenhouse pop up bar in L’Escargot last year) to create The Mayfair Miller, a cocktail which also included lychee, elderflower and spiced berries.

This one was delicious, way too easy to drink! And it was beautifully presented.

cahoots cocktails in the city

Next up I tried The Rhubarb Radler from The Whip in Mayfair, a drink they’d created with Chase Rhubarb Vodka. As soon as I hear rhubarb I’m there, I love anything rhubarb!

the whip cocktails in the city

This was quite an interesting drink – it looked as though it would be citrus based rather than rhubarb. As well as lemon juice, sugar and bitters it included Wild Goose Chase pale gooseberry ale from The Wild Beer Co. I am desperate to try this ale by itself and will be hunting it down!

wild beer co

I’ve never been to The Whip, now it’s on my must go list!

chase vodka cocktails in the city

I went for another gin cocktail next, this time The Root Gimlet from Powder Keg Diplomacy in Wandsworth, using Plymouth Gin. This is another bar which wasn’t yet on my radar, but I’m told it’s Victorian themed and now I really want to go!

As well as Plymouth gin, The Root Gimlet contained lemon  juice and something a bit more unusual – carrot and horseradish cordial! Sounds disgusting, but tasted delicious!

powder keg diplomacy cocktails in the city

To round up the evening I visited the station where Sophie Bratt of OXO Tower on South Bank was creating a cocktail using Patron Tequila (mmm, Patron…). Sophie actually was a contestant in the Patron Perfectionists Cocktail Competition, so it was a natural partnership!

patron cocktails in the city

I loved how pretty Sophie’s creation, Love Buzz, was. It was perfectly named for its ingredients – as well as Patron it included Yuzu, vermouth infused with strawberries and a dash of rose syrup. Beautiful. And potent.

oxo tower cocktails in the city

I had a little chat with Sophie after her presentation, and found out she had a lot to do with one of my favourite afternoon teas in London, the slightly boozy Not Quite Afternoon Tea at OXO Tower Brasserie (if you’re sweet toothed you have to try it, it’s awesome and changes seasonally so you can go time and time again…). Anyway, that’s a little off topic!

Other bars which are confirmed to be at the March event include Coq D’Argent, Reverend JW Simpson, Dishoom, Looking Glass Cocktail Club and Hush.

Perfect for everyone, from cocktail connoisseurs to someone who just likes a nice fruity drink, Cocktails In The City will be a super fun experience which I’m excited for!

If you’re not one of us spoilt for choice Londoners, Cocktails In The City will also take place across two days in three other cities; Leeds on 7th and 8th April, Manchester on 19th and 20th May and Edinburgh on 27th and 28th October.

Tickets can be bought from Design My Night or YPlan, priced at £15 for the London event which includes one cocktail, multiple sensory experiences and a cocktail booklet. Psst… If you haven’t used YPlan before you can use my code LEVANS88 to get £5 off!cocktails in the city

Hopefully I’ll see you there!

L xx

All photos my own.

To celebrate 150 years of Alice, the British Library have put on a free display exploring the world of Alice through, books, artworks and toys, which is open until 17th April 2016.

http://www.littlemoose.co.uk/

Like a lot of women I know, I love absolutely anything to do with Alice In Wonderland – I’ve been a huge, huge fan since I was a child.

I used a torch under my duvet after lights out at boarding school to read the books over and over again, and whisk myself away into Alice’s colourful, surreal world. Those books got me through some rough times. So although I love the movies, the game, the memorabilia, and the numerous themed experiences based on it – the books will always have a special place in my heart.

So of course an Alice In Wonderland exhibition was a must do for me.

http://www.littlemoose.co.uk/

I’ve never been to the British Library before. And I have to be honest, as a building, it kind of disappointed. I had expected a beautiful, grand, old building – think Natural History Museum-esque. But it was an ugly 80s style flat roofed thing. Oh well. But that’s not important.

alice in wonderland british library

The Introduction

The exhibition starts with a series of illustrated mirrors and pictures, recapping some of the key scenes, before you enter the museum style main part.

alice in wonderland british library

One of my favourite Alice artworks was included in this area, ‘Alice & The Pack of Cards’ by Arthur Rackham.  If you aren’t familiar with Rackhams work, I suggest you take a look at the rest of his Alice pieces, they’re beautiful.

alice in wonderland british library

If you don’t know the history of the Alice stories, or how they came about, here’s a little recap…

On 4th July 1862 Lewis Carroll (which is actually his pen name), took a boat trip with his friend, Robinson Duckworth, and the three young daughters of the Dean of the Oxford College, Christ Church, at which he studied – Alice, Lorina and Edith Liddell. To entertain them, Carroll made up a story of Alice’s adventures in a magical world after falling through a rabbit hole.

alice in wonderland british library

The Exhibits

The rest of the exhibition did not allow photography. Although I didn’t realise and took a few snaps before getting very rudely shouted at (although funnily enough that wasn’t actually while I was taking a picture – I was actually talking to a guy on Tinder, haha!).

I’ll include my pics here as a little taster, but strongly recommed you visit the exhibition for yourself.

Possibly the most high profile piece was the original book. Lewis Carroll produced the manuscript, at the time entitled ‘Alice’s Adventures Under Ground’ in 1864 – after a request from Alice Liddell to write down the story he had originally told her 1862. While writing the text Carroll left space for 37 illustrations which he later went back in and created. Over two thirds of the illustrations included the character of Alice, and although Carroll was no artist, it is thought that he took inspiration from the Pre-Raphaelite art of his friends including the painter Dante Gabriel Rosetti and the illustrator Arthur Hughes. The book was gifted to Alice Liddell for Christmas.

alice in wonderland british library

A lot of the books in the exhibition were beautifully illustrated. One of my favourites was this copy of ‘The Wonderland Quadrilles… for the Pianoforte’, published in 1872.

The Quadrille was a popular dance in the 18th and 19th centuries which involved four couples dancing together in a rectangular formation. A number of playwrights and composers approached Carroll wanting to create their own work based on the Alice story. This piece was created by Charles Marriott, with Carrolls permission and, at his request, dedicated to Alice Liddell, for the piano.

alice in wonderland british library

This art nouveau Alice was illustrated by Charles Robinson in 1907. It contains eight colour plates and 112 line drawings. Alice looks a little different in this one – her dark hair is a reference to Alice Liddell, and the sailor style dress is a nod to the fashion of the time.

alice in wonderland british library

I don’t know much about the next book and jigsaw, but I believe they’re from the 1950s.

alice in wonderland british library

This jigsaw dates back to the 193os, and was illustrated by AL Bowley, who also illustrated an Alice Panorama which was on display. This was on private loan for the exhibition from the Richards Collection.

alice in wonderland british library

Something a little more modern, I really liked this colourful pop up book…

alice in wonderland british library

And finally, a beautiful piece by Salvador Dali…

alice in wonderland british library

As well as the exhibits, there were Alice video games you could play, and special sculptures scattered around.

The Gift Shop

Running alongside the exhibition is a pop up gift shop with all sorts of Alice inspired gifts.

alice in wonderland british library

Is it just me who likes gift shops possibly more than the exhibitions themselves?

alice in wonderland british library

Everyone loved these necklaces by jewellery designer Little Moose – check out their online store.

little moose cheshire cat

So what’s on?

As well as the exhibition, the British Library are holding seminars and events around the theme throughout February and March. Alice’s Adventures in Comics-Land looks intriguing…

alice18

I’d love to hear what anyone else thought of the exhibition!

L xx

All photos my own.

I know, I know, my ‘weekly’ round up posts aren’t really happening weekly, but life gets in the way sometimes! It’s been a busy couple of weeks – not only have I had loads on, but I managed to fracture my shoulder, wrist and break my thumb (which is why you’ll see some rather attractive wrist supports in my pics for a while!).

Sadly my injuries happened on the day I was meant to attend #BLOGGERSBELOWZERO at the Ice Bar, which I had been looking forward to for ages! Ice Bar have been very kind though and have invited me to my own little review visit so I will be posting about it soon! In the meantime you can see what Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat thought of it here.

So here’s what I got up to this fortnight…

People Footwear UK Launch

On Tuesday I went along to The Hoxton Gallery for the UK launch of Vegan leisure shoe line, People Footwear. You can read about it in detail here.

people footwear

Abhorrent Decimation at Scream Lounge

I left the People Footwear event a little early to get myself down to the tiny Scream Lounge in Croydon to see local death metal band Abhorrent Decimation. Loved them. Properly loved them.

Despite being exactly the kind of thing I usually love, Abhorrent Decimation had managed to pass me by up until now. But I was so impressed, and I left with a copy of their new album, Miasmic Mutation. If you like death metal with a modern edge give it a listen, it’s awesome.

abhorrent decimation

ABQ London

Wednesday evening was my second visit to the ABQ London Breaking Bad themed bar (after going the first time around in the Summer, which you can read about here). After such a successful run of their Hackney pop up RV, they returned to a new venue, and a new BYOB format, which I’ve posted about in detail here!

abq london

Grease at the Hard Rock Cafe POP Picturehouse

Hard Rock Cafe London have some really cool stuff coming up, starting with the immersive showing of Grease in collaboration with Pop Picturehouse.

pop picturehouse hard rock cafe

You can read about the event in detail here, and buy tickets for the next event, Spiceworld on 22nd February here.

Alice In Wonderland Exhibition at The British Library

Have I mentioned yet how much I love Alice In Wonderland? I actually don’t think I have, which is pretty strange as I have been OBSESSED with anything Alice since my childhood. So of course the Alice In Wonderland exhibition at the British Library was on my to do list. You can see a sneaky preview of the exhibition in this post.

alice in wonderland british library

Chicken Night with Yelp & Neighbourhood

I’ve really been getting into Yelp lately (you can check out my profile here if you’re interested, feel free to add me as a friend if you’re a fellow Yelper).  I’m actually pretty disappointed that I didn’t get involved sooner, since they have such a great community and hold some really awesome events!

Wednesday just gone I attended their Newbie and Chicken Night at Neighbourhood in Stratford. It was a great night, I met some cool new people and had a delicious family style dinner and as much beer as I could drink! Thanks Yelp!

chickennight

At Home With The Chef with Yelp & Eat With

Another night, another Yelp event! This was actually a pretty special one, there were only eight spaces available so Yelp ran a little competition – the eight Yelpers who recruited the most new members won a space. And I actually won overall, and got an extra little gift of a really nice cafetiere and coffee – I’m keeping it for my new desk when I start my new job in March.

Now, this event run with Eat With is worthy of a post all of its own, so you can read about it soon!

eat with

In the meantime you can find out a bit more about the chef who cooked for us, Dylan, on his blog, The Travelling Editor.

Fat Tuesday – London Mardi Gras 2016

You may have seen my post about Fat Tuesday in advance of the event? Regardless, I was invited down by Kansas Smittys and Shotgun Carousel to their London Mardi Gras event on Southbank. Despite the miserable weather, it was a great night!

london mardi gras

So, that was what’s been going on in my life lately – the next couple of weeks are going to be busy too! Stay tuned for more cool Yelp events, Slipknot, a new tattoo and plenty of (anti) Valentines stuff!

L xx

All photos my own.

Without question, my favourite thing about writing Girl At The Rock Show is the opportunities which arise from it. Whether it be stumbling upon cool goings on from the research I do to keep the blog current, or invitations to press launches or blogger only events, my life has become a whole lot more interesting since I started my little side project.

Possibly one of my favourite, most fun evenings so far has been the immersive showing of Grease at Hard Rock Cafe, put on by Pop Picturehouse.

grease pop picturehouse hard rock

Pop Picturehouse is a brand new venture by a lovely lady called Hope, who quit her day job to follow her dream. Pretty inspirational stuff. Grease was the first of what will hopefully be a long series of Pop Picturehouse events and in my opinion it was a great success!

grease pop picturehouse hard rock

For the evening, Pop Picturehouse took over the basement bar of Hard Rock Cafe on Park Lane. As well as the main event – a showing of the classic movie, with some key scenes acted out – there were 50s hair and make up make overs, a photobooth, themed cocktails and movie snacks.

grease pop picturehouse hard rock

grease pop picturehouse hard rock

The actors were brilliant, they really stuck to their roles all night, wandering around talking to guests as though they really were the high school students from the 50s!

grease pop picturehouse hard rock

Here are Lauren of Saharasplash and I with Danny and Kenickie!

grease

Of course, during the performance, shy wallflower me was dragged on stage… And of course Luisa took photos, haha!

grease pop picturehouse hard rock

grease pop picturehouse hard rock

Look how embarrassed I was! (Although that is also an ‘ouch’ face, since Kenickie took me up by my bad arm, haha!)

grease pop picturehouse hard rock

Dress code wise, it was one of those times that anything goes. Some people went all out in costume (one brave lady with an amazing figure made a brilliant bad Sandy!), others hinted at the theme, like myself and Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat.

I was really happy when Rizzo told me that, with my pink leather studded jacket, I’d make a great member of the Pink Ladies, haha! Sadly I didn’t get a proper picture of my outfit, but here’s a bad quality bathroom selfie that’ll give you an idea…

grease1

Luisa looked gorgeous in a bad Sandy inspired black off the shoulder top, especially after her 50s hair makeover – I think after the evening we all decided that backcombing is the way forward!

grease pop picturehouse hard rock

Well done Hope for putting on a fabulous first event! I can’t wait until the next one, Spiceworld on 22nd February! If you’re free that evening I definitely recommend grabbing a ticket, currently only £10 here! I might be a little braver with a costume for this one!

Psst… Hard Rock London have a new guy on board who has all sorts of fun things planned, so keep an eye on their upcoming events!

L xx

All photos my own, apart from those of me on stage, taken by Luisa.

If you’re interested in any of the performers or make up artists, you can find their details below;

Danny – Bradley Judge

Kenickie – Joshua Wills

Rizzo – Francesca Pim

Sandy – Stephanie Stone

Makeup – Billie Eva Makeup & Ross Kershaw

If you’re going to be single at Valentines Day, what better place to be than London?

I’ll be honest, I’m not overly fussed about Valentines, but there are so many fun events coming up over the next couple of weeks that I may as well get into the spirit of things! And I’m not talking overpriced romantic dinners surrounded by starry eyed couples, haha!

So here are my top five picks of the anti (or just not quite so traditional) Valentines events going on this year. You’ll most likely find me at a couple of them…

Valentine’s Extreme Garnishing

You know I like my weird and wonderful food events by now, right? Well The Robin Collective put on the most interesting pop-ups, from re-creating the Eiffel Tower out of toast to making miniature gardens from coconut grass and brownie soil.

sweets

I’m super excited to be joining them for their Valentine’s workshop – Extreme Garnishing at The Hoxton in Shoreditch. Not entirely sure what to expect, but I hear there will be molecular techniques, love potions and even cooking with explosives! I can’t wait!

dynamite

Extreme Garnishing is happening on Tuesday 16th February and tickets are selling like hot cakes, so pick one up for £20 from Design My Night.

If you’re intrigued by the toast, there’s another toast build coming up – look at their upcoming events here. Oh, and I’m also keen to try some of their Medicinal Marshmallows

Blindfold Date

If you’re British, and unless you’re way too young for me anyway, there’s no way you won’t know what Blind Date is (and I hear it’s making a comeback!). On Wednesday 10th February (so great timing for you to actually make plans for V Day at the weekend if they manage to match you up with Mr/Miss Right), It’s Unknown will be hosting a gameshow type night at Concrete in Shoreditch.

blindfolddate

As well as one lucky contestant being blindfolded on stage to ask questions of three potential soulmates, there will be plenty of other chances to find love – including tombolas of love (?), love shacks and slow dance sessions (that’s my nightmare, right there!)…

I’ll be at Blindfold Date with a a few hot girl friends, so get involved! Tickets are £6 advance from Design My Night.

Psst… It’s Unknown have plenty more cool events up their sleeves – sticking with the love theme there’s Musical Bingo’s Heart Make Hotel later this month.

The Bloody Valentine Cabin

If you’ve seen my bucket list, you’ll know I’m dying to try out one of the cabins at York & Albany in Camden – and obviously a horror themed version is ideal! From 11th to 14th February, the cabins are decked out in blood splatter, with screenings of horror movies and themed cocktails and snack platters. Prices start at £30 per person (for snack platters and a cocktail), but there is a minimum spend of £120 per cabin for groups of 4 or less (£180 on Friday and Saturday).

yanda

You can book a cabin by emailing experiences@gordonramsay.com or for larger groups, you can book on Design My Night.

Eat Your Heart Out

I love a good supper club, and you know when it’s being held at House of Vans in Waterloo it’s going to be a fun one! With mischieviously named dishes like ‘Cupid’s a Cock-tail’ and ‘Sour Grapes’, their anti-Valentines supper club is in conjunction with Grub Club, so you can take it as a given that the food is going to be good.

lovebites

Dinner is on Saturday 12th February, and tickets are £30 each, but currently YPlan have a great deal with tickets at £25.50 (also, you can save another £5 using my code LEVANS88 ).

Or, if brunch is more your thing, House of Vans and Grub Club are holding an anti-Valentines part 2 on the day itself, with their Boozy Bill Murray Brunch – a Bill Murray double bill, bellinis, Bloody Mary’s (or, erm, ‘Bloody Murrays’), unlimited waffles and pancakes and a whole load of American style sharing dishes. Pretty good for £20.

billmurray

House of Vans also have a couple of anti-Valentines double bills (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind/Lars & The Real Girl or Before Sunrise/Her) and a cute card making workshop.

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

Nothing says anti-Valentines like preserving a heart and putting it in a jar, right? Not one for the faint at heart, a couple of places are holding macabre classes in pickling lamb hearts and placing them in jars. Has anyone else noticed that taxidermy is so in right now? I don’t really get it, but anyway…

hearts

The Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch (which makes an appearance on my bucket list for its Brothers Grimm themed rooftop) is holding their workshop on their rooftop terrace on Saturday 6th February for £55 (or £100 for a couple). Tickets available here.

Or The British Academy of Taxidermy have two sessions on actual Valentines Day priced at £50 each (or £70 for a couple) at the Islington Arts Factory. Tickets available here.

Dirty Lovin’

Yes this is number 6, and I know, it isn’t exactly a Valentines alternative but I wanted to give it a mention. The Kensington branch of one of my favourites, Dirty Bones (you can see a review post here) has a Valentines Tasting Menu night on February 14th, featuring some brand new dishes – for £25 you get two courses, sides and a cocktail.

dirtylovin

Also, from 12th to 14th February, the to die for Banana Toblerone-tella Waffles are available all day, not just for brunch at both Dirty Bones Kensington and Carnaby.

So there you have them, my top picks. I’d love to hear what other single people get up to!

L xx

All photos from the relevant establishments/PRs.

Remember ABQ London? The Breaking Bad inspired bar that was around for a few months in 2015, operating from a RV in Hackney? If your mind needs refreshing you can check out my original post on ABQ here.

abq london

Since the original ABQ shut its doors in October, ABQ have revamped their RV and reinvented the ABQ experience. They have a new home in Shoreditch, and it looks like they’re working on making it a permanent thing.

On Wednesday night I was lucky enough to have the chance to experience the new ABQ before they opened the doors to the public.

abq london

So what’s new?

The RV is a bit plusher, a bit better laid out, and it looks as though it has a slightly larger capacity than before. I couldn’t really get any detailed pics, but they had some cool details, like a timeline of the shows events across the seat pads on the bench. (Edited to add: I’m informed it’s actually a timeline of Walter White’s shirts, interesting…)

abq london

Most significantly, this time ABQ is BYOB.

Instead of making one of two set molecular cocktails (and trying a second), this time guests bring their own booze and get to make their choice of 2-3 cocktails from a much bigger list. You can preview the cocktail options on the ABQ site, along with the recommended spirit for each one so you can plan what to bring. They recommend 35cl of alcohol brought per person, and it has to be in a sealed bottle.

abq london

One of the cocktails on offer is quite exciting – ABQ are introducing Londons first flavour changing cocktail. More about that in a minute.

The Drinks

There are five cocktail recipes, and you’re expected to be able to make 2-3 of these during your two hour session. You get partnered up, and between you you make the drinks from scratch – unlike last time when, in groups of four, you operate a production line like system with each person having a particular step.

abq6

My partner, Georgia, and I had vodka, so we were limited to vodka based drinks (I did wish I’d brought whisky!). We started with ‘Fly’.

fly

Image from www.abq.london

To make Fly, we used a cream whipper to mix up the vodka, flat Citric H2O (yes I know H2O is water, just play along), lime, ‘caviar’ made from cola and some ‘mystery ingredients’.

abq london

It resulted in a drink which reminded me of frog spawn.

abq london

Our second drink was ‘Tripping’. I’m pretty sure everyone who visits ABQ will go for Tripping, it is their most talked about drink, and I definitely recommend it!

tripping

Image from www.abq.london

To make Tripping, we shook up vodka, flat Citric H2O and ice, and topped it with Carbonated H2O. But the main part of this drink was the pink tablet that you let dissolve on your tongue, which is what changed the flavour.

tripping2

After the tablet dissolved, I bit into a lemon slice, and I swear this was the tastiest fruit I’ve ever eaten! The colour changing tablet made the lime sweet, and when I tried the (previously bitter) drink I’d just made, it also was sweet. A super fun idea!

We didn’t have time to make one of the smoking cocktails, but look how cool these ones (called 505) looked (cooked up by Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat)…

abq7

So, what did I think?

I really enjoyed ABQ both times I visited, but I think more so this time around. Working in pairs makes the whole experience a bit more fun, and it’d make a great date, while the intimate seating arrangements mean it still works for a larger group.

abq9

I’m not keen on the BYOB aspect, but I suspect it may have something to do with licensing. It does make the ticket cost cheaper (£25 for two hours rather than the original £31.60), although overall this doesn’t make the experience more economical. Unless you want mocktails, each guest has to bring their own bottle of their choice spirit. And if you’re anything like me you’ll be drawn to two drinks suited to two different spirits. Meaning you’ll want to bring two bottles of booze. And that all adds up.

abq london

After your time is up you can buy additional cocktails made up by the bartender at £8 each. But again, they need to use the alcohol you provided, so I think the price is too high. Last time additional cocktails at ABQ were £8.50, which included the alcohol.

abq london

Overall I like the concept and it’s a really fun experience but I think it needs a small price drop (although as a one off novelty experience it isn’t bad), and some fine tuning. My partner and I could easily have made three drinks in our time slot, but the time it took for the staff to bring the supplies to us meant we only had time for two – there was a lot of waiting around. It is worth noting though that I was there on the very first night with no previous trials, so I imagine it’ll run a lot smoother going forward.

If you want to visit ABQ, it opens on February 4th. You can book here (scroll down!) for £25 per person, and they’re currently taking bookings until the end of April.

If you’re interested in a more detailed description of how ABQ has developed, check out this mega informative post by Luisa, as she’s been three times now!

L xx

All photos my own unless stated otherwise.