Halloween bars in NYC
Inside the long-anticipated Brooklyn outpost of film-geek haven Alamo Drafthouse, you’ll find a hallway lined with all sorts of grotesque curiosities: death masks, model fetuses and even monkey skeletons. But walk through and you’ll find that the macabre is served with a side of cocktails. The theater’s house bar is modeled after 19th-century panoptica attractions and displays many relics of that era from Berlin wax-house Castans Panopticum.
Once a rest stop for wayward audience members wandering through Sleep No More, the McKittrick Hotel opened 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.
The storefront 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. 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.
Step back in time to 18th-century England at this gastropub, which features flaming lanterns and exposed-wood beams that elicit all the eerie medieval feels. Try one of their macabre-named versions of classic cocktails with varied tapas dishes.
She to he: “If you’re married, we can try the back room.” Everything is bordello red, including the velvet trim on the bar that would make for a very BDSM Halloween date. Drinks have names like Hot Lips and Good Wood. Smooth R&B beats add fuel to the flame. Just another night at Madame X.
Dangling chandeliers, pressed-tin ceilings and a fireplace decorate this Victorian-inspired spot that wouldn't be out of place in 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.
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. See if you can summon more than just shots—five different people (and two cats) have died within its walls over the years.
The narrow rooms of this Brooklyn bar are reminiscent of a Sleep No More chamber, adorned with oversize double-starburst mirrors, a collage of yellow-paged open books lining the walls, old-world potion bottles and women’s vanity knickknacks strewn on counters. Slinky nods to its illicit past (the space was a former brothel) include a red light bulb hanging above the doorway and a bona fide canopy bed in a back room.
The inside of this subterranean metal dive glows like the burning flames of hell; but don’t worry, it’s just the foreboding din of red twinkle lights. Grab a seat next to one of the resident skeletons, tip back a PBR, put some Cannibal Corpse on the jukebox, and toast the undead.
The tiny, low-lit antechamber in this speakeasy is similar to the tricked-out waiting rooms inside Disney World rides: Outfitted with exposed–chipped-brick walls, arched entryways and hanging candles, the haunted-house–esque space has few stools. Once you enter the main room, you'll be greeted with steampunk-chic touches of shiny blue booths, industrial piping and rows of Edison bulbs.