Food & Drink

Can you inhale yourself drunk?

ShortList’s Alex Christian investigates a strange new drinking trend 

Underneath London’s Borough Market is a newly opened, monastic-themed venue named Alcoholic Architecture: a place that is aiming to do away with that tiresome, centuries-old queue-for-drink/pay-for-drink/drink-drink/repeat routine. In its place they are proffering the first ever “alcohol-infused cloud” – meaning you can get drunk just by inhaling the fumes in here.

Inside, by the way, the floor is slippery, the waterproof I’ve been given (to protect my clothes) is seriously sticky, and my contact lenses are stinging. I am choking my way through boozy air. It is a long way from the relaxing atmosphere of the venues featured in the column to the right of this page. Which is not a huge surprise, given that the humidity is set at a meterology-defying 140 per cent, turning the G&T, pumped through the vents in the walls, into vapour. And these fumes aren’t just inhaled – they pass through your eyeballs, too, heading straight into your bloodstream.

So does it work? Well, I quickly experience impaired vision, but it’s not from the booze. It’s from the cloud of ethanol: so thick that I can only see as far as a metre away, meaning that I am more focused on pawing my way through the fog and towards a distant white light (the exit). And blurry eyes aside, I didn’t feel much else. Thankfully, the nearby cocktail bar served more normal drinks. Well, drinks inside real human skulls, but still…

Alcoholic Architecture runs until January 2016, tickets cost £10; bompasandparr.com