This weekend, Bompas & Parr will be opening their latest ambitious cocktail project, named ‘Beyond the Waterfall’ and featuring a Christmas-themed bar in an underground lagoon. We went along for a sneak preview...

London’s Westfield centre commissioned Bompas & Parr to build a Christmas pop-up bar in its luxury shopping village. The duo responded by filling a 20-metre area with water, complete with sailboats and cascading waterfall, through which guests row themselves to reach the cavern bar.

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Once inside, the host – a merman drag queen named Ruby – offers punch, and three other mermen draped over the bar provide hand massages and serenading, as well as sea-themed cocktails.

World's first Christmas cavern bar

Credit: Charlie Surbey

Co-founder Harry Parr described the project as an ‘unlikely but enchanting Christmas experience that avoids all the usual cliches of the season’.

Practically, the nautical element does come with difficulties, and guests are required to sign a form freeing the bar of responsibility – in case your iPhone goes overboard, or your loafers get a soaking.

This slowed entry to the bar considerably, although visitors were mollified with a glass of Champagne at Searcy’s just outside.

Our mermaid guide also told us that, although the boats were designed for two, in reality they had experienced problems with the boats sinking… So now it’s one person per vessel.

Despite these hiccups, the architectural finesse of the bar is impressive; with live glowing jellyfish swimming in tanks set into the walls, and no expense spared on the subterranean cave décor and mermaid costumes, specially designed for the occasion.

World's first Christmas cavern bar

Credit: Charlie Surbey

Bompas & Parr are renowned for their ambitious mixology projects, including filling a house in London with four tonnes of punch, in partnership with Courvoisier – enough to serve 25,000 people. And their summer project this year, ‘Alcoholic Architecture’, involved guests walking through clouds of ‘breathable’ cocktails.

‘Beyond the Waterfall’ will open in The Village, Westfield 17 – 23 December. Entry is £15, which includes two cocktails. Click here to buy tickets.

The nautical cocktails:

Message In A Bottle (served upon arrival)

Ingredients: Gunpowder Rum, Pearlescent Spiced Port, Spiced Grenadine, Gingerbread Absinthe

Floating Gold

Ingredients: Ambergris, Cognac, gold leaf flake sugar crystal, Crémant

World's first Christmas cavern bar

Floating Gold cocktail. Credit: Charlie Surbey

Sea Air

Ingredients: Deep sea Sake, Sea Cucumber Vermouth, Fino Manzanilla, Samphire, olive, Sea air

The Old Man & The Sea

Ingredients: Rum, Rye, Sweet Vermouth, Maraschino, Benedictine, bitters. Barrel aged. Hemingway and ‘age’

Shipwreck Sour

Ingredients: Shipwreck cider brandy, Coral Calvados, Creme de Peche, lemon juice, shipwreck bitters, egg white

Cthulhu Margarita

Ingredients: Giant Squid ink Tequila, Mezcal, lime, mandarin and petitgrain agave syrup, seaweed salt rim

Written by Laura Seal for Decanter.com

 

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