Review by Martin Buggy
Got a hankering for a real darn tootin’ fandango this sunset? Well, this here betterment of Cold Water town, set way back when in 1904, might be good for what ails ya. The caboodle begins before you step foot in the Moonshine Saloon (the latest immersive experience from the team behind Alcotraz, a controversial prison themed cocktail bar).
You suspect by the cut of the jib of the man that greets you outside the entrance that you are in for a wild ride. After a whole lot of ballyhoo about this watering hole being on the wrong side of the law, patrons are asked to save the saloon owner’s bacon from the calaboose by preventing the sheriff learning about his moonshine shenanigans.
No need to come dressed in your best bib and tucker. Once inside, the saloon owner himself, Clyde Cassidy, will kit you out in attire that will have you feeling more like an experienced buckaroo than a mail-order cowboy. While there’s not much space to mosey about in the open frontier’s latest rum-hole, the bar’s detailed decor helps to suspend your disbelief. Molly, Clyde’s out of the loop wife and gregarious barmaid, will settle you into your new surroundings further with her strong southern drawl enquiring about her husband’s latest whereabouts.
Those more interested in bending their elbows than the experience’s immersive aspects will be relieved to know that the cocktails aren’t far away by this stage. The dedicated bartender will silently work to transform the liquor contraband you’ll be instructed to bring into varied cocktails. Throughout your time in Cold Water, you will be taken aside to discuss moonshine opportunities, law enforcement’s devious plans to disrupt this illicit side business and, of course, to have your photo taken. By now you’ll start to feel much more part of the action.
Between your four installments of corn juice, the Sheriff and Clyde will get into progressively more violent scratches until the outlaws successfully bar the Sheriff from returning. If you want to keep the cowboy cocktails flowing, you’ll be given access to an after brawl bar upstairs that is a lot more spacious.
Overall, the narrative of the night is not all in apple pie order, but there’s no tumbleweed either. The charming bar transports you back in time and across the Atlantic to the Old West where you’re served modern cocktails. By sunrise you’ll know it wasn’t moonshine to expect a good night out at London’s latest saloon.
Moonshine Salon is on until 22 December. Tickets from £33.99 https://www.moonshinesaloon.com/