By Hope S. Philbrick
Clues and Cocktails is a new venue in Atlanta’s historic Martin Luther King Jr. District—and because it’s part bar, it’s strictly for adults age 21 and older. 21 Plus Salute!
Clues and Cocktails = Adult Fun in Atlanta, Georgia
The bar itself would be a draw to Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn district even without the rest of the concept. It has a speakeasy vibe and serves great drinks. But Clues and Cocktails is innovative and merges a bar with the escape-room concept plus adds a theatrical element.
It opened with a prison theme and is designed to look like a 1940s jail. Upon entering you’re considered an inmate; your mug shot is taken and you’re given a prison ID. As the evening progresses you’re asked to solve riddles while discovering injustices of the prison system along with some intriguing historic facts. In the process you can enjoy light bites plus a full bar selection.
If a real jail was like this, criminals would be clamoring to get in.
Themes will change once or twice a year. The current theme is “Criminal Minds,” a theatrical, puzzle-driven experience that presents the controversial conviction of a young man wrongfully accused of murder who is awaiting execution as his penalty. Your task is to decipher clues to understand his innocence and gather the appropriate evidence hidden in nooks and crannies throughout the space to vindicate him of the crime. While theatrical performers’ monologues and ballads tell the story, it’s up to the audience to help set him free.
In addition to the clues that help solve the case, there’s a lot of thought-provoking information on display in the space, including an electric chair, a photo of George Stinney Jr., who was executed at age 14 in Alabama (who, tragically, has since been exonerated), and more.
“Social justice is important to me,” owner Joy Christina says in press materials. “I want to create an impact with our themes, which we’ll be changing once or twice a year. Each one, such as our initial prison theme, will allow people to be awakened to the world, to progress being made or not made. I like to push the boundaries and get people to think. What is a criminal? What is justice?”
The food is inspired by prison fare, but the menu includes more than bread and water. “We looked at a New York State penitentiary commissary list in developing our menu,” says Christina. “We’re using Italian sausages for our Frank n Beans, for example. The flavor of the beans is amazing.”
The bar menu features concoctions like The Yard with muddled cachaça, watermelon mint shrub, lime juice, cucumbers and sugar cubes; The Warden’s Wife combining Empress gin, lemon juice and maraschino cherry juice; and The Hole mixing tequila, Lejay crème de cassis, lime juice and ginger beer and garnished with a lime wedge.
Performers sing with and without musical accompaniment and are so impressive you won’t want to miss a note.
They never break character, so once you enter that jail, be on your best behavior or you’ll be hearing from the warden.
This educational yet fun, thought-provoking and conversation-sparking venue is well-suited to its home near Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, National Historic Park.
Clues and Cocktails
314 Auburn Avenue
in Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn District
Open Thursday through Sunday.
Admission to the two-hour immersive experience is $57.97 plus food and beverage purchases, and reservations are required. Guests are welcome at the bar after 10 p.m. without reservations to enjoy the scene, cocktails, and food menus.
– Photo Credits: People and interiors courtesy Clues and Cocktails; food and cocktail photos © HSP Media LLC
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