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Oscar Wilde
Photograph: Teddy Wolff

The best themed restaurants and bars in NYC

We all love to hate these cheesy gems known as the best themed restaurants in NYC

By Alyson Penn and Time Out contributors

Yes, they're kitschy and cheesy as hell, but that doesn't stop people from seeking out the best themed restaurants in NYC. They range from tourist-trap restaurants whose staff breaks out into song, to movie theater bars and a hotel spot with a tiki twist.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Best themed restaurants

1. Jupiter Disco

Bars Cocktail bars East Williamsburg

The Bushwick bar proudly touts a midcentury dystopian sci-fi theme with orange florescent lights, dark turquoise booths and nostalgia-inducing technology like spectrum analyzers, oscilloscopes and a functioning reel-to-reel tape recorder.

The Polynesian
Photograph: Gabi Porter

2. The Polynesian

Bars Cocktail bars Hell's Kitchen

Transport yourself to French Polynesia or Hawaii or any one of those perfect places at this Major Food Group bar that serves elaborate tiki drinks in a resort-like space.

House of Wax
Photograph: Kylie Thompson

3. House of Wax

Bars Cocktail bars Downtown Brooklyn

This creepy bar and restaurant inside Alamo Drafthouse is lined with anatomical and sideshow displays straight out of a haunted house.

Trailer Park
Photograph: Jena Cumbo

4. Trailer Park Lounge & Grill

Bars Sports Bars Chelsea

Key West meets Texas at this bar, where Christmas lights and silver fringe run between framed photos of low-rent icons like Tammy Faye Bakker and Elvis. In case you missed all the trashy references, a mock trailer home is built into the wall.

Oscar Wilde
Photograph: Teddy Wolff

5. Oscar Wilde

Bars Cocktail bars Flatiron

Equal parts salon, pub and bordello, the bar serves a broad mix, including tipples in the Victorian style and Prohibition-inspired cocktails. The venue is awash in deliriously decadent bric-a-brac like painted-glass windows and crushed-velvet chairs, without the impotence of being earnest—and almost everything is dolled up with gaudy marble or heavily lacquered wood. 

Photograph: Courtesy UES.

7. UES

Bars Cocktail bars Upper East Side

There's much more that meets the eye at this ice cream shop on the Upper East Side (get it?). Head to the back of the pint-sized store, ask to see the "storage room," and enter a secret cocktail bar with uptown-inspired drinks, like "Gossip Girl on the East" and "Absolutely Bradshaw." 

Le Boudoir
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

8. Le Boudoir

Bars Cocktail bars Brooklyn Heights

Although not as grand as Marie Antoinette might have liked, this sumptuous cocktail den boasts red-velvet banquettes and gold trimming and serves French appetizers and desserts. (Yes, there’s cake).


9. Ninja

Restaurants Japanese Tribeca

Who doesn’t want their steamed shrimp with a side of high-kicks? This ninja-themed bar, in Tribeca of all places, has Japanese-village decor, fusion dishes and plenty of dark scares on your descent.

Ellen's Stardust Diner
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

10. Ellen's Stardust Diner

Restaurants Diners Midtown West

Of course there’s a Broadway-themed restaurant right in Times Square. Listen to (what we assume are) aspiring Great White Way stars as they belt out show tunes while you munch on burgers and fries.

Beetle House
Filip Wolak

11. Beetle House

Bars Cocktail bars East Village

This Tim Burton-themed bar and restaurant in the East Village features Winona Ryder caricatures, surgical instruments and gothically dressed waiters.

Jekyll & Hyde
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Peggy P.

13. The Jekyll & Hyde Club

Restaurants American Midtown West

You've probably heard the tale of Jekyll and Hyde, but did you know the doctor's haunted abode is open to you (at your own risk, of course)? Explore his home and try not to flinch (or spill your drink) as actors reenact the many spooky and mysterious moments of Dr. Jekyll's story.

Photograph: Jonathan Aprea

14. Tortilla Flats

Restaurants Mexican West Village

Sure, there are tons of Mexican restaurants in NYC, but none have that oomph quite like Tortilla Flats, with colorful streamers hanging from the ceiling and homages to Elvis scattered throughout. Hey, we never said the theme had to make sense.


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