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Secrets and Spies

I spent Friday evening cracking codes deep in a secret bunker below Chelsea, at The Bletchley.

This was thanks to porsupah, who found out about the popup cocktail bar, successfully applied for tickets, and invited me along thinking, correctly, that it was relevant to my interests.

Our group of four arrived at 1800 hours and was ushered in to a dimly-lit basement with diagrams and scribbles of code on the walls.

At every place was a folded uniform jacket, so everyone could look the part. To my dismay, the one that fitted me was devoid of medal ribbons and shoulder stripes, making me the junior of the party. We were asked to select code names based on favourite colour, which, of course, meant I was Agent Orange.

I am never not going to have a good time when I spend my evening being addressed as ‘Agent’.

The staff, all appropriately dressed, were simply wonderful: putting up with my awful jokes1 and admiring my hat, staying in character, taking drinks orders and offering help with the challenges when needed.

Welcome drinks arrived and we settled down to our first puzzle: taking it in turns to create a unique code based on name and date of birth using our table’s Enigma machine, then working out how to call up the bar staff by radio and place our drinks order.

The cocktails we had won ourselves were one-off creations based on the codes we had passed over, never to be repeated. Each came with a list of ingredients (mine contained lemongrass, basil, rhubarb, orange and whisky) and instructions on how to encrypt and place our next order.

That was it for the coding; for the rest of the night we could order as we pleased to the end of our drinks allowance. I asked for a Noel Coward-style Martini (fill a glass with gin and wave it in the general direction of Italy) and, my, they delivered. I think we also got an extra drink each because we were so damned entertaining, following our order of a round of B-52s which arrived on fire.

Agent Huskyteer at the Bletchley

1COMPANION: I’d like a Screaming Orgasm, please.
WAAF: Oh, nobody’s ever ordered one of those before.
ME: Well, someone had to come first.
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Comments

THIS SOUNDS AMAZING! I have done locked-room puzzle escapes, and I have drunk cocktails, but combining the two sounds like genius. :-) I'm glad you had such a splendid evening.
I was a little nervous about the idea of solving puzzles under scrutiny, but it turns out having a drink helps! And thank you - it was one of the best Nights Out I've ever had.
Excellent!

Lemongrass, basil, rhubarb, orange and whisky? That sounds like a rather interesting concoction.

I like the Noel Coward-style martini, too. ^^
I'm definitely adopting the Noel Coward martini.

I'm not usually a whisky drinker but I did enjoy my mystery cocktail. There were also test tubes of liquid on each table, which we had to sniff and select a favourite, as another factor in the recipe.
Being a spy? This must be your dream come true! ;)

I'm pretty sure one of the recent Bond movies mentioned that he was in Chelsea. XD
It really was :) And yes, I think Bond lives somewhere around there, too!
Ah. I didn't know that!
Sounds an absolute dream of a weekend, point deducted for terrible joke though.
Definitely Brosnan-era Bond, that one.
I guessed it might be of that Vintage

That sounds awesome!

It was a really good night out - and I rarely do Nights Out!