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.
Scroll down for cocktail list
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.
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.
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
Ingredients: Ambergris, Cognac, gold leaf flake sugar crystal, Crémant
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’
Ingredients: Shipwreck cider brandy, Coral Calvados, Creme de Peche, lemon juice, shipwreck bitters, egg white
Ingredients: Giant Squid ink Tequila, Mezcal, lime, mandarin and petitgrain agave syrup, seaweed salt rim
Written by Laura Seal for Decanter.com
More eating and drinking ideas:
Read award-winning food and wine writer Fiona Beckett's review of the notorious Sexy Fish restaurant...
From weekend food and wine festivals to the latest tastings and pop-ups - we bring you the best things to
Where to eat in Paris...
Wine writer and travel agent Filippo Bartolotta recommends his top 10 wineries to visit for a quintessential Tuscan experience...
Find out Porto's best places to eat in Food Trails from Lonely Planet...
See Fiona Beckett's review of the remote and beautiful Faviken Magasinet restaurant, a two Michelin-starred restaurant in Sweden...
Anthony Rose visits The Hitching Post II - made famous by wine film Sideways...
See events in New York this winter, including food and wine festivals, tastings and pop-ups...
Clipstone in London is the latest restaurant opened by Nick Lander, son of wine writer Jancis Robinson MW. See Fiona
Fiona Beckett reviews Master Sommelier Xavier Rousset's London wine bar, Blandford Comptoir. Serving an 'impeccable' wine selection with rich Italian