Tales of a City Girl

ABQ Breaking Bad cocktail bar – a review

I love London’s thirst for immersive experiences, and when this one promised cocktails too, I couldn’t help but leap at going. Especially as it’s themed around zeitgeist synonym of the past five years, Breaking Bad. Way I figure it, enough super-fans of the show will be queuing for a ticket it would have to be bang on the buck to amuse all these Heisenberg wannabes. So a few of us work lot went along to find out.

*Yeah, sorry my title lacked creativity a bit.  I was playing around with chemistry metaphors and then had a little cringe and went with this Ronseal one (because it does what it says on the tin. Keep up)*

ABQ Breaking Bad is a pop-up bar based in an RV in Hackney Wick. Although, instead of making meth inside, you guessed it – you’re making cocktails. The RV is situated in a dusty sidenote of a square off Victoria Park and looks as incongruous as you’d imagine.

Inside, no attention to detail is left spared. I skim-watched Breaking Bad (I kept waiting for that bingo moment of falling in love with it) but even I recognised a lot of the props here, from the one-eyed pink teddy bear to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass on the work stations. There’s even a giant glittering picture of Heisenberg in his most iconic madman look lining the far wall of the RV. Around the sides of the RV are workstations replete with little stools last seen in Year 11 Chemistry class. The theme tune snakes out and everywhere is eerie, dark and stuffy.

Each workstation within the RV seats around 4 of you along with your pre-measured ingredients and a recipe for making your very own Breaking Bad inspired cocktail. There’s dry ice, whisks, sherbet masquerading as drugs, mortar and pestles and lots of weird and wonderful ingredients. ‘Cooks’ wander around between the stations in yellow jumpsuits, barking instructions and helping make sure you don’t burn yourself with dry ice.

After making each cocktail, they are whisked away to be prettified and boozed up by the cooks before being distributed. Attention to detail here is, again, incredible.  A strawberry daiquiri comes in a beaker, served on a chopping board with strawberry sherbet ‘lines’ on the side. An intensely strong bright blue cocktail with the density of sharp ice is served in a beaker. I’m sorry I can’t tell you more about what that one was (I didn’t much like it), but if alcoholic blue frozen Slush Puppies sound like your thing I think you’ll enjoy it.

The ticket gets you one glass of each of the cocktails you make, but this isn’t accounting for the generosity of your cooks/barmen, who walk around topping you up from huge jugs.

Special thanks goes to one of the guys working there, Danny, whose tough-guy Heisenberg act lasted approximately 3 minutes before he crumbled into a genuinely nice bloke with a propensity for topping up everyone’s glasses (I blame him for the fact I nearly fell off my stool).

We had a really brilliant couple of hours in the RV messing around and getting tipsy. There’s even a bar you can go to outside while waiting beforehand, which I believe serves chicken and chips too (Los Pollos Hermanos style!). We went for a drink there beforehand but weren’t mega-impressed – it was pretty eye-wateringly expensive. Save yourself for the RV I’d say.

If you can go (I gather tickets are pretty rare now), you must. £30 a ticket is pretty steep, but it’s worth it.

If you want a ticket register interest on abq.london. Best of luck!

Image attribution: Me, bitch