‘We are but geeks’ – The Cauldron
Tell me I can wear a cloak, point a wand, shout LUMOS and whisk my imagination into a fantastical world and I’m there. Give me a cocktail that illuminates, a secret hideout for magic folk, a mystical tree that seeps craft beer and Hermione, I’m home.
Since opening its doors in March, Dalston’s latest immersive bar has seen fantasy fans pour down the fairy lit staircase into The not-so-leaky Cauldron, an obvious inspiration of the works of JK Rowling. What is clearly a done-up basement is impressively transformed into a local boozer for magic folk, there’s no muggles here. Instead cloaked wizards and giggling witches sit on stools whilst concocting their own cocktails in a self-led potions class. Its success isn’t entirely surprising. Created by ABQ and The Bletchley mixologist David Duckworth, The Cauldron follows suit of the ever-growing list of London’s immersive experiences. And I’m not one to complain.
Storytelling is at the heart of what the pub is all about. From the method behind each drink to the childhood books that are collected from each willing guest, later donated to reading classes around the UK.
Hufflepuff’ed up with a bone wand between two, we cowered in a corner over miniature bottles and an empty cauldron. The instructions are simple; pour the butterfly elixir, stir clockwise for six counts, brew and whisper ‘cocktailalarmus’ but what makes the magic is the buzzing chatter and self-contained atmosphere. There’s no cheesy interrogations, no am dram students pretending to be Luna Lovegood. Just a natural, relaxed vibe that would only be found in, well, the real Diagon Alley.
Amidst the potion crafting and catching up about the Daily Prophet headlines, a short visit to a central tree sees a pour of a wizard’s beer. Made from wand wood, ginger, vanilla and other core magical ingredients, the ‘Four Cauldrons’ as it is known is a crafty pint any Weasley would enjoy.
Okay so the drinks? Like most of London’s immersive experiences, the cocktails aren’t the best in town. The first? A little watery, but the presentation was on point, mostly because I made it. The second? Actually, I really enjoyed the second. It was spiced and all things nice and the method behind it perhaps received an excited squeal. In fact I’d say the only thing The Cauldron is missing is the chance to nibble on a jumping frog or toadstool canape.
Tickets are £29.99 for just under two hours, and that includes your three drinks, cloak rental and chance to merrily wave a wand in your partner’s face. What started as a Kickstarter pop-up seems to be making a permanent move into London’s cocktail scene and why not? We all need a side of magic with our cocktails.
The Cauldron / Thecauldron.io