ABQ, situated in Hackney, is home to London’s very own Breaking Bad themed bar. At £30 a pop it sounds steep, even to hardcore fans of the hit TV series, so we thought we’d suss it out for you…
Walking from Bethnal Green tube station, we had no idea what to expect. Then we saw it. A huge RV parked in a car park. No signs anywhere but this had to be it.
“Sup, you here to cook?” a lady shouted at us from the open truck door. As we approached her she chucked fetching yellow boiler suits at us and told us to put them on. Walking up the stairs into the RV we were greeted with a high five from each of the people behind the bar. That was the second indication that it wasn’t going to be your average ‘out for drinks’ experience.
As 90s tunes played, we were led to a table at the back of the motorhome. “Sit your butts down, I’ll be back,”. The waitress’ favourite character was evidently Jesse Pinkman.
Conical flasks containing cubes of ice, a clear liquid and a syringe were plonked on our table. “Your welcome drinks – Mojitos with a twist…put as much of the blue stuff in as you want,” she said with a wink.
Pushing down on the syringe we dispensed the blue liquid into our conical flasks. “Enjoy b*t**es”. Our waitress said as she strutted off, rapping along to Eminem’s ‘Shake that ass for me’ which was being played overhead. It is safe to say that if you’re a fan of manners and decorum, this place probably isn’t for you.
One of the men behind the bar rapped his knuckles on a wooden table, demanding all of our attention. Everyone sat in the RV looked to him, “Tonight you are in an RV in the desert in America, cooking up a storm!” Everyone cheered and the infamous Breaking Bad theme tune began to play. The atmosphere was tingling with anticipation.
Sipping on our ghastly blue concoctions we turned our attention to the drinks menu…
Breaking Bad-themed molecular cocktails. Genius. Dry Ice, emulsification, nitrogen cavitation, carbonation, hydrosol air. Science. The variety of flavours and scientific elements made it so hard to pick one – to make it that little bit easier for you, we recommend ‘blow’ and ‘CRT fix’.
As soon as we were finished with our mysterious blue mojitos, we were asked which cocktail we wanted next. Our empties were cleared from the table. No waiting around – the service was impeccable. Less than five minutes later, our individual experiments arrived. We were given a detailed brief full of crass comments and Breaking Bad quotes on how to create our drinks.
Not wanting to miss a thing, we watched each person in the RV as they concocted their molecular cocktail.
These were not just cocktails; this was a fully immersive Breaking Bad experience.
When our third and (sadly) final cocktails were finished, it was time for us to leave the world of Breaking Bad. We peeled the rubber suits off (it was very hot in there), took an obligatory group photo outside the RV and headed home feeling slightly more badass than when we’d gone in.
The meticulous attention to detail makes the ABQ bar what it is. The staff, the boiler suits, the RV, the many drugs references, the interior of the RV, the themed cocktails…even down to the very name of the bar. ABQ – an acronym for Albuquerque, where Breaking Bad is set. Without all of this it would simply be another cocktail bar in the capital.
£30 gets each person two hours in the RV, loan of a boiler suit, a welcome drink and two molecular cocktails. Although it does sound dear, we can confirm that it really is worth every penny.
So break bad and get cooking.
Words: Amelia Walker-Hall | Subbing: Asya Gadzheva | Video: Amelia Walker-Hall