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We always like to do at least one quirky thing on our trips and when we stumbled upon ABQ London, we were immediately in! We’re both huge fans of the TV show, Breaking Bad, and this bar is based on that show where you can make your own cocktails in a more scientific way.
They keep it as close to the show’s theme as possible starting with their fun website. It’s written as if the character Jesse Pinkman is managing the website and uses words like “Yo” or “mad place”. It was already making us giggle and we couldn’t wait to see what this place was like.
It’s highly recommended that you make reservations, especially if you want to sit in the RV. We booked a couple months in advance so that we could secure a spot on the exact day and time we wanted. We were limited with our visiti in London, so there was only one day we could go, which was on a Sunday. They are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. ABQ London welcomes walk-ins too but it’s not guaranteed that you’ll be able to sit in the RV area.
The cost for the experience is £35 (~$45), which actually isn’t that bad considering you get 3 cocktails, attentive service, fun props and a unique themed environment.
ABQ is the world's first immersive molecular cocktail bar and there are only two locations. One in London and the other in Paris. ABQ London is located at 18 Bohemia Place and is an easy 5-minute walk from Hackney Central station. Bohemia Place is a lively street with hip bars, breweries and shops. Since we were there on a Sunday, the entire street was filled with booths selling food and clothing with DJs spinning some tunes. ABQ is located at the very end of the street and you’ll spot the front of the RV right away.
Fun fact: ABQ is the abbreviation for Albuquerque, which is the city where the show is based out of.
As soon as we walked in, we were delighted to see all the attention to detail and hear our favorite 90s hip hop music playing. The RV is true to size, just like the one Walter White, a.k.a. Heisenburg, and Jesse cooked in. There is a huge drawing of Heisenburg on the wall with his iconic hat, “Science, Bitch” spray painted on the walls and lab-like tables and equipment.
There is a bar and lounge area behind the RV, extra seats by the RV (we believe this is the “RV extension area”) and a restaurant that serves pizzas in the very back.
When we entered the tiny RV, we were instructed to put on our hazmat suits and share a narrow table with a couple of girls. We didn’t mind sharing but we were starting to feel really claustrophobic in the small space. It was also a little chaotic with the bartenders walking back and forth and customers talking loudly over the music. Everyone was having a great time but we felt out of place in this crowded environment.
There was plenty of seating outside the RV, but inside the RV it was definitely packed. It was mid Sunday afternoon and we were surprised to see so many people inside. We thought going at this time it would be chill, but we got the exact opposite. It was pretty loud and everyone was having a great time.
Luckily, the wonderful staff helped us out and moved us down to the RV extension area where it was much more quiet and we had plenty of room. We like being in a lively environment but that was a little too much for our comfort.
What really made this place memorable was the excellent staff. Yes, making our molecular cocktails was fun too but the staff really went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable and having fun. They repeatedly checked up on us and asked if everything was okay. We appreciated them being so accommodating with us. A special shout-out to our bartender, Chris, who helped us make our molecular cocktails! Check out some of his artistic projects he’s working on at DefEar TV.
Now that we were finally settled into our table, it was time to make our drinks! When we looked at the menu, it was a little intimidating at first because you’re literally making your own drinks using molecular techniques with dry ice, flasks, and syringes. Each drink comes with step-by-step instructions and you really have to concentrate to make sure you understand the process. Of course, the staff goes over the instructions and are there to help if you need assistance. There are a variety of drinks to choose from and we decided to cook these two:
CRT Fix - Gin, Elderflower, Lime, Cucumber and Mint
For this cocktail, we used dry ice to infuse our drink with thyme and rosemary. This drink had four steps and we were able to cook it on our first try. It really feels like you are in a lab when the instructions say to fill a beaker with 100ml of hot water. and the dry ice starts to react. We also loved the Jessie language in step three where it said, “Insta moment yo!”. We were so focused on not screwing up the drink that it was a challenge to get that insta moment Jessie suggested! Crystal is a fan of cucumber flavored cocktails so she really enjoyed her creation.
Dry Walter - Dark Rum, Coconut Rum Liquor & Campari
To cook up this cocktail, we had to use a nitrogen cavitation device to foam and infuse our drink with sage and jalapeno flavored pineapple juice. This cocktail was a bit of a challenge as we couldn’t get the device to work on the first try.
At first we thought it wasn’t working properly, but it was just us not using enough force to twist the device. Once we got some assistance, the foam started to pour out just fine. This cocktail was a little bit on the sweet side for Candy, but she still enjoyed her creation. We were both proud that we made our drinks properly!
The props are purely for fun and aren’t really necessary, but if you’ve come this far you’re clearly here for the full experience.
Everyone is encouraged to at least wear the hazmat suit and it’s a one-size-fits-all, so it’s very baggy. You can slip right into the hazmat suits with your shoes and clothes on. Candy’s first suit didn’t smell quite right so if you’re not happy with your hazmat suit, they have plenty of others to switch out with so don’t hesitate to ask. The suits definitely make for a fun experience especially if you want a photo while cooking your drinks.
The safety goggles were an added prop and we only put them on for photos. We would have worn them while cooking our drinks, but they weren’t the most comfortable things to wear. Again, they are a great addition for those photo-ops.
Now that you have the suit and goggles, the final prop they had on each table was the mask. When Chris, the bartender, was helping Crystal with her first drink, he handed her the mask and said it was for protection just in case the smoke blows up in her face.
We had a great time with our entire experience and especially want to thank the staff for being so accommodating. Not only is it entertaining to make your own cocktails and feel like a badass but it was also fun talking to the friendly employees.
If you’re not into making your own drinks and just want to chill, this place also has a little lounge area, a terrace and a pizza restaurant in the back. When we left around 5:30pm, we started seeing a lot more people coming in and enjoying their time at various places within the building.
If you’re keen on sitting inside the RV, be sure to make reservations.
Not a fan of tight spaces? We recommend sitting outside the RV in the extension area. We were feeling a bit claustrophobic and sitting out in this area was just as fun.
You might want to wipe down your masks and goggles with Wet Wipes if you have them. We’re not sure if the props are wiped down after each use so we wiped them down ourselves as best we could.