Alan Turing code-breaking cocktail bar to open

A pop-up cocktail bar inspired by the life of WW2 code breaker Alan Turing is set to open in London, and the waiting list is already 7,428 people long.

Alan Turing is best known for pioneering a technique to speed up the decoding of the German enigma machine, intercepting Nazi communications to help end WW2.

The Bletchley, named after the government code breaking facility in Milton Keynes where Turing helped crack German communications, will open for three months from 17 March and will offer unique “coded cocktails” based on a drinker’s personality.

Alan Turing was an English computer scientist, mathematician, logician and theoretical biologist, who is best known for his work during WW2 as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. He pioneered a technique to speed up the breaking of German military codes to help the allies defeat the Nazis, shortening the war in Europe by more than two years and saving an estimated fourteen million lives.

In 1952 he was prosecuted for homosexual acts, still then a criminal offence, and accepted punishment of chemical castration as an alternative to prison. He died in 1954 at the age of 41 from cyanide poisoning with a coroner ruling death by suicide.

In 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for “the appalling way he was treated”, while Queen Elizabeth II granted him a posthumous pardon in 2013. His story was the subject of a 2014 film starring Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game.

From what we can gather, the themed pop-up will see an ‘enigma machine’ positioned at the bar to decrypt the personality, taste, desires and odour of each guest. This code is then transmitted via a radio system to mixologists who create a bespoke, one-off cocktail based on the information. The recipe will be given to the individual to take home in an envelope.

The waiting list for the bar has already reached 7,428, according to the pop-up’s website, which in true Turing fashion requires users to crack a code to gain access.

The location of the bar will only be revealed to ticket holders, but the setting is rumoured to be based within a hidden underground bunker.

The organisers behind The Bletchley, Lollipop, are also responsible for previous off-beat London pop-ups including Annie the Owl – a pop-up that invited guests to pet a live owl while enjoying (ultimately non-alcoholic) cocktails, and ABQ, a pop-up based on the hit TV show Breaking Bad at which guests “cooked up” cocktails using molecular science.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in 2014’s The Imitation Game

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