Way back before the pandemic began and everything came to a complete standstill, my friend, Cat, and I were invited along to try Moonshine Saloon. Based not far from Liverpool Street Station, Moonshine Saloon was created by the wonderful Intentive productions who also were the masterminds behind Alcotraz (which you can read my review for here). However, instead of being flung into a prison, Moonshine is all about cowboys in the Wild West, illicit distillers and mastermind smugglers… In particular, the ring leader, Clyde Cassidy.
Clyde Cassidy (The king of The Moonshiners) rules the roost here, as he requests that you bring a bottle of your favourite liquor in order to join his smuggling gang. Throughout the evening you will learn all about Mr Cassidy himself, along with all of the other characters that reside at the Moonshine Saloon. As this is an immersive experience, you can expect to be called on to participate along with the story in various ways whilst the bar staff create masterpieces out of the alcohol you manage to sneak in (if you manage to sneak it in successfully obviously.)
We arrived on a relatively chilly Friday evening and there was a slight queue outside the venue, little did we know that throughout the evening we would come to perform tasks and games with these people in a bid to join Cassidy’s crew. The wait wasn’t long, it was only a couple of minutes past the time that our session was meant to begin when a cowboy’s voice filled the street and caught our attention. It was mr Cassidy himself, he told us the rules and a slight outline of what to expect from the evening before we were allowed in.
We went in through the rustic wooden shutters to a small room where in small groups we were told the rules and handed over our smuggled alcohol and each given a shirt jacket, a neckerchief and a cowboy hat (duh), so that we could all begin to channel our inner Cowboy – I think we pulled the look off quite well.
Weirdly, we also both adopted the accent for the entirety of the evening… It seemed to make it seem more real if we made fools out of ourselves and when the alcohol began to flow it just meant that our accent got more and more horrific. But what can I say, when you hear an accent, you really just want to copy it. It’s addictive.
We were shown to our little table in the bar area, which was decked out to look like a saloon like in one of those old Western films. A very good job has been done here and you didn’t feel like it was a gimmick so top marks from me. Here we had a little while to chat and look around the room from our seats whilst everyone else was taken to their tables.
There are actors wondering around for the entirety of the session who try to make conversation and attempt to immerse you into the experience even more which I think definitely added to making it feel more real, you even got to hear some of the back story behind some of the tasks and the reasoning behind the Moonshine Saloon and the characters.
It was only about 5 minutes before our first round of cocktails hit the table. We had bought a bottle of gin with us and my friend was a little bit apprehensive about this as she’s not the biggest fan of gin cocktails, but, she said that they were some of the best cocktails she’d ever tried. We had 4 cocktails each overall and each one was so different from another. Some really expert cocktail making must have gone down here to provide such variations of cocktails using the same spirit that so many people would enjoy.
If I’m completely honest, I think both of us would probably return purely for the 4 cocktails as they were so delicious and well thought through, even if there wasn’t any entertainment (obviously the price would be lower as you’d purely be paying for mixers at a bar).
Throughout the night, the cocktails kept coming, we never felt as though we were waiting for a drink as there was a lot going on but it also wasn’t so fast that we had to rush them. The staff were looking out to see when you finished your drink and to make sure the next one came out seamlessly. Even though we had 8 cocktails overall from our bottle of 750ml gin, there was still some left over at the end that we were able to take back with us, and we were suitably boozed… they definitely weren’t weak.
We never felt rushed throughout the experience but it definitely seemed to go really fast! I guess you know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. Cat and I were asked to partake in 3 secret tasks / activities, including a game of cards in which you have the chance to win money for certain aspects of the experience. Each spin-off activity was very different to each other and adding another level to the story of Moonshine, it also means that not everyone’s experience was the same as different people got to participate in different sections and learn different things during their time as an outlaw trying to gain the acceptance of Cassidy.
Overall, I can’t express what a great night I had enough. From start to finish we were fully taken care of and entertained. There was enough down time to be able to be social with the people that you’re with and I think this would be a perfect place for a date as you can chat but also have a bit of fun and socialise with other people incase its awkward. After reviewing both Moonshine Saloon and Alcotraz I think that Alcatraz would be better suited for a group of friends whilst this would work well for a duo or trio.
The cocktails were fantastic and the staff and actors were second to none. Make sure you bring a spirit that’s easy to create great cocktails and nothing too wild or weird. Be sure not to be too scared to come out of your shell and have a great time, there’s no need to feel silly about acting as someone you’re not and by the end, the cocktails will help you out on that aspect too. I’d absolutely love to come here again and I know SO many people that would absolutely love it here too. Moonshine Saloon gets a huge thumbs up from me!
Thank you so much for having us! * This experience was gifted but views are all my own*
When all of the cocktails hit at the end of the night and you look like a cretin (see below)