National Network members condemn new “Alcotraz” venue set to open in Naarm as grossly insensitive and offensive

The National Network denounce the upcoming opening of Alcotraz, an immersive prison-themed speakeasy cocktail bar, as a disturbingly insensitive and offensive enterprise that trivialises the brutal realities of the prison system. The venue that allows privileged patrons to cosplay as prisoners, is a spectacle that is particularly offensive.

‘Alcotraz’s attempt to turn incarceration into a form of entertainment is a gross minimisation of the suffering endured by people who have been criminalised,’ said Debbie Kilroy. ‘Creating a space where people can pay to pretend they are prisoners is not only reductive but also incredibly disrespectful,’ said Debbie Kilroy.

‘This insensitivity is magnified given the venue’s location on stolen Aboriginal lands,’ said Tabitha Lean. ‘Alcotraz need to read the room. They are building their business on lands owned by the very communities that are being ravaged by prisons. The very notion of a prison-themed bar on land with a history of dispossession and ongoing oppression of Aboriginal communities is abhorrent,’ said
Tabitha Lean.

‘Prisons are sites of immense pain and suffering, especially for Aboriginal people who face higher rates of incarceration and deaths in custody. Turning this into a theme for a bar is a slap in the face to those who have experienced real trauma and brutalisation,’ said Tabitha Lean.

‘The entire concept of Alcotraz isn’t just poor taste; it shows a fundamental disregard for the lived experiences of people who have been and continue to be harmed by the prison system,’ said Debbie
Kilroy. ‘Prison is not a game—it is harsh, it is brutal and all too often a life-ending reality. Privileged white people cosplaying as prisoners for fun while real people suffer is just grotesque,’ said Debbie Kilroy.

The National Network calls on the public to boycott Alcotraz and urge the Naarm community to stand in solidarity with the criminalised community and reject any establishment that seeks to profit from the exploitation of this kind of oppression.


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For further comment, please contact either National Network members, Debbie Kilroy or Tabitha Lean