Enjoy a Virtual Reality Cocktail with Virgin Atlantic
World Best Bar
Apr 25, 2018
26 November 2020
Virtual reality is a burgeoning industry that is being used in everything from PTSD rehabilitation to the world of online gaming. Virgin’s new virtual drinking experience, however, is truly taking things to the next level. Richard Branson’s passion for travel and technology is well publicised and his aviation company Virgin Atlantic has recently taken a bold leap to combine drinking and VR to offer its customers a visionary airport experience. The company, well known for their experimental approach to marketing, have partnered with Bacardi for this new venture, called the Immersive Digital 360 Drinks Experience.
The concept is surprisingly simple. While waiting for your flight at Heathrow, JFK, or any other airport where Virgin Atlantic boasts one of their esteemed Clubhouses, you merely select a destination from the localities offered, and then pop on your VR headset to be transported to your bar of choice. The bartender will then mix you the specialty drink served at the venue you’ve chosen. The manager of the Clubhouse arm of Virgin Atlantic, Mark Murphy, travelled the world filming bars with a high-definition 360-degree camera in order to prepare this experience, and the end result is crystal clear videos of some of the planet’s most fantastic drinking locations, including Branson’s own Necker Island. Murphy was thrilled to bring his customers this innovative and unique leisure experience, saying, “We think this is a unique bar experience and we’re looking forward to delighting our Clubhouse customers with a combination of technology and world class mixology skills.” Virgin’s partnership with Bacardi has promised to bring the best in mixology to those who enjoy a cocktail, and for those who prefer to abstain from booze before a flight, their collaboration with Seedlip, creators of the world’s first alcohol-free spirits, has even created three new virgin drinks never seen before.
A key element of the Virgin ethos is to provide the very best in customer experience, but in this project you can also clearly see Branson’s enthusiasm for new technology. The company’s passion for travel is so strong that they want you to be able to go somewhere different even while you’re waiting to board a flight to your next destination – broadening the travel experience even further. A number of excellent bars feature on the list of possible virtual experiences. Here are a few of the drinking spots that you can now explore through the world of virtual reality:
Dandelyan – London
Dandelyan is a multi-award-winning venue on London’s South Bank that just oozes sophistication. Its virtual reality counterpart is no different, offering coveted views of the iconic river Thames. The Spirited Awards even voted this establishment the world’s best cocktail bar in 2017.
Blacktail – New York
Voted the best new American bar in 2017, the theme here is retro aviation. Your virtual reality experience will take you back in time as you sip on something deliciously alcoholic before boarding your flight to your final destination.
Smuggler’s Cove – San Francisco
Virtual swashbuckling adventures await at this pirate-themed San Francisco hangout. Subtlety isn’t the vibe at Smuggler’s Cove and the intricate and ornate nautical inspired décor is a fantastic full-on experience which is perfectly suited to the virtual reality technology.
Necker Island Bar
This is probably the only way that any of us are going to get to visit Branson’s private island, known as one of the most luxurious resorts in the world. Thanks to the 360 Drinks Experience, you can now sip a cocktail in this highly sought-after destination.
The drinks list is concise, but strong, with nine offerings in all. A few of the highlights include a Concrete Sazerac (made with cognac and absinthe) when you’re in London, a rum and coke in New York and, of course, a classic daiquiri for those virtually visiting Necker Island. These drinks go far beyond expectations, with the rum and coke even containing a little champagne to spice things up!
The virtual reality bar project has been incredibly well received by customers and critics alike. Passing time in the airport can be a tedious task, but this innovative and engaging offering by Virgin helps things move along nicely. Nobody’s saying you have to cross these bars off your list for a “real-life” visit someday, but it is a fantastic, unique way to enjoy a cocktail while heading off to your chosen holiday destination!
Photo by @virginatlantic on Instagram