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Loreley Beer Garden
Photograph: Courtesy of Loreley Beer Garden

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
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

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

What might at once appear to be a standard storefront is, in fact, a eulogy to he who shall not be named (It’s Beetlejuice), plus a couple of other characters who might be familiar from some of cinema’s more lighthearted frights. Inside the boozy nod 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

This Goth-ish absinthe and Champagne bar takes inspiration from Cabaret de L'Enfer, a famed Parisian destination that operated from 1892 to 1950, which itself was named for the underworld. Explore moribund themes with your new friends, the skulls the gargoyles and any lingering spirits. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Ridgewood

This is the first Halloween season for year-round fright fest Flying Fox Tavern, which opened earlier this year flush with scary movie posters and haunting tableaus. Even off-peak, the full-service restaurant and bar hosts events like Goth prom, horror film and fantasy fiction anniversary parties and Buffy (of the vampire slayer Buffys) brunch bingo. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Austrian
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4

From October 14, Loreley Beer Garden gets haunted with Halloween-themed cocktails and pumpkin kegs made form real-deal gourds scooped to fit 60-ounces of pumpkin ale; ale made from pumpkin guts like those that once rested comfortably inside this very vessel. So, you know, that’s creepy, plus Loreley promises more decorative squash, spooky scenery and other “bone-chilling surprises.” 

  • Bars
  • Roosevelt Island

For one (fright) night only, one of NYC’s best rooftop bars will transform, like a werewolf in the moonlight, from a mere premier NYC skyline-peeping destination to a veritable terrace of terror, stalked by the most hair-raising creatures of all: New Yorkers. The October 29, $50 ticketed event is also a costume party where only the most hauntingly local ensembles will win prizes for first, second and third place. See Time Out New York’s own creation inspiration right here

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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
  • 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 in the days after Oktoberfest, it transforms into into a Halloween dream replete with DJ sets, scary film screenings and glow in the dark drinks in a costume-friendly environment. 

Need a Halloween playlist?

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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