Londoners, instead of drinking alcohol, why don’t you just inhale it? Bompas & Parr's new pop-up bar – called Alcoholic Architecture – allows customers to get drunk by breathing in and absorbing booze through their skin and eyes.
Located in Borough Market, Alcoholic Architecture is a “fully immersive alcohol environment” where customers inhale and absorb vaporized spirits and mixers at a ratio of 1:3 in an enclosed space. According to Bompas & Parr's website, “the cocktail cloud is made using powerful humidifiers to super-saturate the air.”
Fast Company reports that the vaporized alcohol is so powerful guests have to wear protective ponchos to limit their skin from absorbing too much of the stuff. The vaporized alcohol will get customers drunk 40% quicker than just drinking the booze as its standard liquid form.
Co-founder Sam Bompas told Marketing Magazine that “with every breath you take it intoxicates your lungs and eyeballs, and it's really quite compelling.” Bompas explained that the alcohol is “going straight into the bloodstream, completely bypassing the liver.”
The owners point out one obvious benefit about Alcoholic Architecture: Customers are able to get drunk without accumulating the same amount of calories. There are, however, some particular concerns with the safety of inhaling and absorbing alcohol; the most concerning being dose. As customers can get drunk a lot quicker when inhaling and absorbing alcohol, critics fear there is a greater risk of overdosing than from just drinking booze.
“The alcohol avoids first pass metabolism in the liver and goes directly to the brain, which makes it much more intoxicating and the intoxication is very rapid,” Dr. William Shanahan, a consultant psychiatrist at Nightingale Hospital, told the Associated Press. “This has the potential to cause serious side effects as well as brain damage in the developing young brain.”
The owners of the experimental bar insist they have taken health and safety into consideration and warn customers to “breathe responsibly.” Bompas told The Telegraph that they spent £30,000 ($46,776) to run the bar “with all the correct health and safety precautions.”
“We want to make sure people breathe in the cocktail safely and responsibly, so worked with a respiratory scientist specialising in extreme environment medical research – space, deep sea diving, mountaineering – to calculate the rate at which people absorb alcohol through their lungs… and, to a lesser extent, their eyeballs,” he added.
Customers are limited to 50 minutes in the enclosed space, so they only inhale the equivalent of a large gin and tonic. Though the bar also allows customers to buy liquid alcohol. Alcoholic Architecture will stay open until early 2016.