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Beetle House
Filip Wolak

The best Halloween bars in NYC

Celebrate the season at NYC oldest haunts, new pop-ups and bars with creepy themes

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Bao Ong
&
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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When you simply live for frights, every season is spooky season, but it’s amplified right around this time every year for the rest of the scaredy cats. In the weeks before Halloween, when artificial cobwebs, skeletons, luminous jack-o’-lanterns and haunted houses start popping up all over NYC, a little liquid courage can help soothe those decorative frayed nerves. So don your vampire dentures, make a topical public figure “sexy,” or simply step out into the full moon and let it do its thing at NYC’s best Halloween bars.

RECOMMENDED: All coverage of Halloween in NYC

Halloween bars in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • Little Italy

Honor icons lost through the ages like The Notorious B.I.G., Jimi Hendrix, Selena Quintanilla and Ruth Bader Ginsburg from now through November at this photogenic pop-up downtown. The temporary installation pairs swaths of marigolds with drinks like the tequila-based Certified Sad Boy and the rummy Weeping in Queens.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

This storefront is unassuming enough, until a host dressed as Beetlejuice pounces as though you’ve uttered his name thrice, ushering you through the door. Inside the boozy homage to all things Tim Burton, a narrow barroom is splashed with Instagram-ready decor, including those iconic black and white stripes, Corpse Bride art, and portraits of the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town himself, Mr. Jack Skellington.

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The Porterhouse at Fraunces Tavern
  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Financial District
  • price 2 of 4

This is one of the oldest bars in New York, and it has the antique furnishings, creaky floorboards and aged wood to prove it. But there are spookier aspects of this downtown watering hole than just cobwebs and dust. Fraunces, a national historic landmark, is frequently included on lists of the most haunted buildings in New York. 

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Midtown West
  • price 2 of 4

You’re likely familiar with the The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or at least the tropes that followed in the 135 years since its publication. The tale comes alive in kitschy fashion at this Gothic homage to the internal battle between good and evil and popcorn shrimp. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Financial District
  • price 1 of 4

The sprawling bar at Pier 15 might not be as large as a boneyard, but its 10,000 square feet are a lot roomier than your average pub. And starting on October 24 it transforms from an Oktoberfest destination into a Halloween dream replete with DJ sets, scary film screenings and glow in the dark drinks in a costume-friendly environment. 

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 2 of 4

Boldly asserting itself as "the sexiest bar in NYC," Madame X is definitely where vampires would gather. Its awash in dim crimson light cascading over sumptuous red velvet and amnimal print sofas. The art and the lampshades are suggestive (yeah, you're like, what, suggestive lampshades? but try to picture it...yep, that's the one!) and cocktails like the Goodnight Kiss (cherry vodka, pineapple, blackberry syrup) seal the deal. 

 

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

The inside of this subterranean metal dive glows like the burning flames of hell; but don’t worry, it’s just the eerie illumination of red twinkle lights. Sidle up to a resident skeleton, tip back a PBR, play some Cannibal Corpse on the jukebox, and toast the undead.

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Upper East Side
  • price 1 of 4

Dangling chandeliers, pressed-tin ceilings and a fireplace decorate this Victorian-inspired spot that could masquerade as  a haunted house. Cozy up with a date on the red velvet couches or chat with pals over rounds of draft beers and mixed drinks.

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Where to find NYC's scariest haunts

  • Things to do

In the city that never sleeps, there are haunted places in NYC whose inhabitants might keep you up at night or heading home early. From historic haunted houses to long-time taverns, the tenants at these venues might give off an eerie feeling or prompt a sudden urge to change your plans. Fact or fiction, these personas of paranormal activity will put you on high alert if you’re brave enough to pay a visit or take ghost tours. So keep your eyes wide open while reading about some of the spookiest places in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Halloween in NYC

Get your freak on at these haunted houses

  • Things to do

It’s the freakiest time of year, and we couldn’t be more excited to scream our guts out at the scariest haunted houses NYC has to offer. Haunted houses may bring plenty of frights, but if you’re looking to get shaken to your core this season, check out these immersive experiences that will bring out your darkest, deepest fears from killer clowns to claustrophobic. To get you in that creepy mood, or if immersing yourself in the world of goblins and ghouls is too much for you, try prepping with one of the best horror movies on Netflix beforehand.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Halloween in NYC

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