Saturday, 1 December 2018

Codebreaking And Cocktails

I realise that I have not posted about my wonderful evening in London three weeks ago with Liz and Steph. So here is my report. We went to The Bletchley - an 'immersive' cocktail bar. I have never had an experience quite like it! The video explains...
We went to the end of King's Road in Chelsea on a cold, very wet, November evening. Into a quite posh looking pub/restaurant, and Steph told the maitre'd that we were there for The Bletchley. We were whisked past the diners, along a back corridor, and down a narrow winding staircase into a dimly lit cellar.
We were given Army jackets to wear [you'll notice I grabbed the Corporal's one, with the most medal ribbons. I definitely claim seniority here]

The room was divided into separate booths, and equipped with [replica] Enigma machines, radio transmitters etc. The walls were plastered with wartime posters, maps, letters, photos, Morse codes sheets etc. All very atmospheric.

We were asked if we wanted 'simple' or 'challenging' codes. My intrepid daughters did not hesitate- if their grandmother Hilda Spooner was head-hunted to work at BP, then they certainly weren't being fobbed off with 'simple' activities.
Welcome drinks arrived in Wartime enamel mugs. We set to work - sealed envelopes, locked boxes, tickets and tags and sheets of codes. Vials of scents to identify, maps to decipher and more...
We had lots of fun decrypting. The answers gave us the key to plugging in the correct terminals on the radio so we could send through our messages to the mixologists. Soon after, a tray of individually mixed cocktails was delivered to our table.
If you ended a line of your message with the word 'Bombe then your drink was alcohol free [although I did wonder if some people thought the word was bomb]
We had an interesting and enjoyable selection delivered throughout the evening [three are included in your ticket price, although you could buy more, and plates of nibbles if you wanted] My three alco-free drinks were varied- two refreshing, one more creamy and sweet. All very pleasant. The girls liked theirs too. 
The staff were friendly and knowledgeable - the codes themselves were very cleverly worked out and quite varied in style. A lot of work had gone into making the experience feel 'authentic'
I felt particularly smug for spotting one clue. We were supposed to be finding a number - and I realised that if the sheet was held upside down, then the word SOLO could be read 0705.
The cellar was quite busy and at times the background music [1940s stuff, Glenn Miller, Vera Lynn et al] was a little loud, and it was hard to hear the messages over the radio.
But it was such fun, and we giggled like schoolgirls and really enjoyed our girls' night out, free from all work/family/church responsibilities.
We were given a final 'parting drink' before we set off out into the rain. 
As we left, a staff member asked if we'd enjoyed ourselves. "Oh yes!" I replied "Their grandmother worked at BP" The girl said she knew that already- Steph had told her when she booked, and warned her not to be surprised if I got a little weepy, remembering my Mum! I didn't get emotional - I suspect Mum would have been horrified that her Very Serious Secret War Work was now celebrated in a drinking establishment.
But I did so enjoy the evening. Thank you Liz and Steph for making it all possible.


  1. What a lovely evening out with your daughters!

  2. What a great idea for a night out. I loved the tv series set in Bletchley.


Always glad to hear from you - thanks for stopping by!
I am blocking anonymous comments now, due to excessive spam!