Unusual bar of the week: The Bletchley, a code-breaking cocktail bar

World Best Bar

Apr 25, 2018

Crack codes to get cocktails in this World War II themed secret pop-up bar in an underground bunker in Chelsea.

When it comes to bars inspired by films, some make more sense than others. For example, there is Paris’s Club Silencio, which models itself on the bar of the same name in David Lynch’s ‘Mulholland Drive’, or Milan’s Bar Luce, which recreates the detailed interiors of Wes Anderson’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’. Far more unlikely is new bar The Bletchley, which draws its inspiration from 2014 Oscar nominee ‘The Imitation Game’.

In this film, we follow Benedict Cumberbatch playing Alan Turing as he helps to break the Enigma code to aid the British war effort. In the bar, visitors use real Enigma machines to break a series of clues that lead to them being given a personalised and totally unique cocktail. Although you do not get this final cocktail until you have cracked the code, two additional drinks are served to you in the process, to stop any rubbish code breakers from getting impatient.

The mystery is also maintained by the bar’s secret location, which is only revealed to bookers via email, ‘for reasons of national security’.



In fact, the use of email and the fact that you can book online are the only aspects of this project that don’t feel like they are straight out of 1943. The bar is rich with period details, from in-character waitresses with cut-glass accents to contemporary costumes which visitors are invited to put on to get into the Blitz spirit. In a nice final touch, the cracked code also has to be sent to the bar via a vintage radio system.

This is another themed bar from the Lollipop team. They previously took unlikely inspiration from the TV show ‘Breaking Bad’ to create up-market meth lab bar ABQ. They were also behind The Bunyadi, a restaurant where diners had the option to eat naked. If you’ll pardon the pun, however, this third bar is the one that’s really cracked the code for themed eating and drinking experiences.

Photo by @thebletchley on Instagram


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