The best Halloween bars NYC has to offer

Grab a cauldron of booze at the best Halloween bars in NYC, from a Time Burtonesque boite to the oldest bar in New York

Photograph: Filip WolakBeetle House

Your October 31st plans will likely want to include a stop at some of the Halloween bars NYC has to offer. Whether you’re looking for pre-game drinks before one of the city’s best Halloween parties or spooky haunted houses, or cocktail cool-down following the rowdy Village Halloween Parade. Slap on a costume and check out these festive pubs and bars come Halloween.

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Halloween bars NYC has to offer

1

The Manderley Bar

Once a rest stop for wayward audience members wandering Punchdrunk's game-changing Sleep No More production, the McKittrick Hotel opens this theatrical cocktail parlor to the public for postshow tippling. The velvet-curtained bar—littered with comedy-tragedy masks and playing cards—is menuless, pouring out made-to-order cocktails while a rotating cast of live entertainers perform for the crowd. Some nights, Pete Maness may be plucking a jazzy riff on his stand-up bass, while others may find soul sister Sophia Urista crooning onstage while you enjoy an absinthe-spiked sip.

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Chelsea
2

Sanatorium

After spending a two-year hiatus from New York in Miami to open South Beach’s Drawing Room, Austrian firecracker Albert Trummer—founder of Chinatown’s pharmacy homage Apothéke—makes his New York comeback with this hospital-themed Alphabet City newcomer. No detail is spared, from the test tubes and stoppered glass bottles at the bar to the X-ray light boxes of skull-and-bone radiographs that punctuate the extravagant room.

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3

The Headless Horseman

Step back in time to 18th-century England at this gastropub, which features flaming lanterns and exposed-wood beams. Try one of their versions of classic cocktails like the Widow’s Kiss (cucumber, lime, tequila, agave, chartreuse) or Midnight Sky (blueberry acai, lemonade). The Headless Horseman also offers delicious tapas such as crispy chickpeas and Long Island Oysters, as well as sandwiches.

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Gramercy
4

Madame X

She to he: “If you’re married, we can try the back room.” Everything is bordello red, including the velvet trim on the bar. Drinks have names like Pussy Galore (Malibu, crème de banana liqueur, mango nectar, sour mix and OJ). Smooth R&B beats add fuel to the flame. Just another night at Madame X.

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Greenwich Village
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5

Le Boudoir

Fans of France’s most detested monarch finally have a liquor-filled hideout to drown their bourgie sorrows. While the service (20 minutes to get a drink) is far from the royal treatment, Le Boudoir makes up for those faux pas with historical thrills, channeling its audacious queen with silver-plated chalices, neoclassical paintings and even a doorknob lifted from Marie’s actual Versailles bedroom. The entrance to the intimate lounge is disguised by a bookshelf that is a replica of one from the late queen’s library. (Tip: Don’t try to exit the same way you walked in; the owners might threaten you with the guillotine—and not the cocktail version.)

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Brooklyn Heights
6

Beetle House

The storefront, painted black, with the glow of chandeliers flitting through its large windows, is unassuming enough. That is, until an actor-cum-doorman in Beetlejuice garb lunges out as if you just uttered his name thrice, doing a shoddy Michael Keaton while ushering you inside Beetle House, a boozy homage to all things Tim Burton from the folks behind the Will Ferrell–themed bar, Stay Classy New York. Like its fun-loving sibling, the narrow barroom is splashed with Instagram-ready memorabilia, from Sweeney Todd–style surgical instruments to metal-leg wall sculptures to framed Winona Ryder caricatures.

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East Village
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7

Otto’s Shrunken Head

The decor is as subtle as the name, but if you’re a tiki enthusiast, you and your grass skirt will fit right in. The light fixtures are glowing candy-colored blowfish, the walls sport gaudy ’50s tropical prints, and the drink menu is heavy on beach-bar standards like piña coladas and margaritas. Once surf rock gets going in the back lounge, the place becomes more Cali than Bali.

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East Village
8

The Porterhouse at Fraunces Tavern

This is one of the oldest bars in New York, and it has the antique furnishings, creaky floorboards and ancient 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. Indeed, five different people (and two cats) have died within its walls over the years. Head there for Halloween, and see if you can summon more than just free shots.

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Financial District
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Village Halloween Parade in NYC

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