There was a surreal and sensory-twisting collision of the digital and physical realms in London last night when the world’s first ‘in-real-life’ metaverse bar threw open its doors.
It was weird, and wonderful, and staying true to the metaverse – and the limitations with it – guests couldn’t drink a single thing.
The real world pixel-perfect pop-up at Protein Studios in Shoreditch was created by Heineken® to celebrate the launch of its new, extra-refreshing, 4% ABV lager, Heineken® Silver – a beer that’s all about championing the real over the fake, so there was more than a touch of irony at play.
It was conceived to poke fun, in a light-hearted way, at the myriad of brands that have recently launched products in the metaverse that are actually best appreciated real. Guests at The IRL META-BAR were perplexed from the moment they entered the holding area to be fitted with no-tech ‘actual reality’ headsets and ‘uploaded’ to The IRL META-BAR.
And it just got weirder and weirder from there. Upon stepping foot in The IRL META-BAR and realising their headsets were screen-less, they were handed pixelated prop pints to not drink by stilted, robotic sounding bartenders, and found themselves immersed in a sports-bar-cum-tavern that looked like something straight out of an 8-BIT computer game.
Everything in The IRL META-BAR had a blocky, pixelated look – from the furniture, to the décor, to the juke-box, to the loveable in-bar dog, ‘MegaBITE’. But then, just as the novelty of taking pictures in an Instagrammable but ultimately unrewarding space wore off, things got REAL.
Because as if by magic, two sliding doors parted to reveal Silverland, a very real party, serving real Heineken® Silver, and a place geared toward a host of experiences that are ‘B.A.R’ – best appreciated real.
Silverland played host to a dazzling, neon light-rich IRL extravaganza, where guests swapped their headsets at the bar for Heineken® Silver cans (or bottles or pints) and packed the chequer-board dance floor to move to smooth beats delivered by a roster of top DJ’s – including Radio 1Xtra star Snoochie Shy.
Adding to the excitement, and dialling up the silver credentials to 11, there was a silver make-up bar offering free makeovers, an obligatory photobooth that didn’t stop pumping out polaroid’s until closing time, and a number of otherworldly, coruscating ‘mirror men’ who roamed the venue challenging guests to dance offs and posing for pictures.
Matt Saltzstein, Beer Brand Director at Heineken®, commented: “This was quite a launch and we’re very confident it’s going to put Heineken Silver on the map. Seeing people’s faces when they first entered The IRL META-BAR was priceless – just as it was when they were handed their pixelated prop pints. But I think everyone can agree that the real party was happening next door. Heineken Silver is all about celebrating real moments over a real beer and tonight was testament to that. Heineken Silver believes IRL beats URL – every time”.
Unlike most regular beers, Heineken®Silver is brewed at an ice-cold temperature of -1 C. This gives it an extra refreshing taste and subtle finish, at 4% ABV. Heinekenâ Silver is brewed with passion for quality and pure natural ingredients.