Horror films and horror literature have become a worldwide commodity. The horror genre is something that translates into any language, and so does alcohol. These bars from around the globe took inspiration from different cultures and created drinking spots that serve spooky ambiance and mixology cocktails. Some of these bars play into the kitschy side of horror, but others take it seriously and construct an entire ideology around the source material. It seems like wherever in the world you are, there’s a creepy bar with good drinks, intense atmosphere and fun dance nights, just waiting for you.
8. The Lovecraft – Portland, Oregon
An homage to the highly influential horror fiction writer, H.P. Lovecraft, Portland’s iteration features dance nights, live bands and DJs, tarot readings, burlesque and all things artsy. Pictures of horror icons like Edgar Allen Poe and Nosferatu hang on the wall, along with framed pictures of Lovecraft himself. Lovecraft’s fiction, especially the creation of a monster named Cthulhu, went on to inspire so many films, other works of literature and comic book writers. Portland’s bar opened in 2011, but NYC opened up an unrelated bar called Lovecraft (minus “the”) this year. The world is big enough for bi-coastal Lovecrafts, right?
7. Cambiare – Tokyo
Apparently Japan loves Dario Argento’s seminal 1977 horror film Suspiria so much, they designed a bar around it. The Italian horror film is about witches and has a very colorful scheme filled with bright colors and music provided by prog-rockers, Goblin. Basically, the film is an artistic achievement in the horror genre. Cambiare in Tokyo serves coffee, beer and pizza. Akin to the movie, stained glass windows, bright hues, neon lights and chandeliers radiate the interior.
6. Silencio – Paris
It’s not exactly a horror-themed bar, but macabre filmmaker David Lynch, owns it and designed it. The name comes from his unsettling film Mulholland Drive, where characters visit Club Silencio and listen to a woman utter the word “silencio.” The interior’s reminiscent of something from the Paris catacombs: sleek lounge furniture, candlelit hallways, and archways leading to secluded areas. Lynch meant it to not only be a bar but also a cultural space for concerts, DJ nights, film screenings in the screening room and art shows. Until midnight, the club is only open to members (it’s expensive to acquire one, and there’s an application process), but after midnight the plebeians, er, the nonmember public can drink and dance the night away.
5. The Slaughtered Lamb – New York City
The 1981 campy horror film, An American Werewolf in London opens with two American backpackers visiting a village pub called, The Slaughtered Lamb, in the fictional town East Proctor (real town was Crickadarn). The pub-goers warn the gentlemen to be cautious on their journey, but that doesn’t prevent a werewolf from attacking them. The Lamb doesn’t really exist in England, but it does exist in Greenwich Village. Patrons can imbibe beers from all over the world—including England—in the Pub Room, the Werewolf Lounge and the Dungeon. They serve beers like Full Moon Ale and Red Wolf lager, and they also serve fish and chips, sliders “wings from hell” and burgers–sorry, no wolf meat.
4. H.R. Giger Bar – Gruyères, Switzerland
Swiss artist, H.R. Giger is best-known for his paintings Necronom IV and Necronom V, which became the template for the alien in Alien. Giger won an Oscar for his visual effects version of the creature. Even though Giger passed away this year, his works live on forever in a museum that he built over a decade ago, in Château St. Germain, Gruyères, Switzerland. A skeletal structure permeates the bar area, with seats even having a vertebrae. 3-D child-like faces pop out of the walls, as do ribs and skulls. For a bar, it opens early but it closes around 8:30 p.m. every night. The rest of the museum has Giger’s other artworks on display, including his pieces for Poltergeist and Species.
3. Nosferatu – České Budějovice, Czech Republic
The bedeviled vampiric character of Nosferatu, sprung to live in German director F.W. Murnau’s Dracula-inspired 1922 silent film, Nosferatu and became an icon in the pop culture world. The club features skeletal figures standing in the corner, fireplaces, religious emblems hanging on the wall, red lights, candles and coffins. It feels like you’re chillin’ at Dracula’s castle, minus the chance of having all of your blood sucked from you (maybe). Of course every year, the bar throws a Halloween bash, replete with patrons wearing their best gothic costumes. Nosferatu serves imports like Evan Williams bourbon and Malibu Rum, bringing the comforts of the U.S. to Dracula’s lair.
2. Frankenstein – Edinburgh, Scotland
The U.K’s home to the iconic literary character, Frankenstein’s monster, and the bar named after the grunting creature pays tribute in the best way possible: by having an animatronic monster descend from the ceiling. The kitschy bar serves cocktails named after the characters, such as a Dr. Frankenstein (Midori, peach schnapps, Blue Curacao, orange and pineapple juices and wild berry vodka) and a Bloody Mary Shelley (named after the book’s co-author). Besides the booze, they have a full food menu–haggis, neeps, tatties, fish and chips, steak and sundaes—and three floors for getting your Monster Mash on.
1. Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den – Minneapolis
The main reason a zombie bar opened in Minneapolis was because of the chilly, apocalyptic winters that the city experiences, and if a zombie attack did happen, the dead flesh wouldn’t reek for a few months. The owners also wanted a safe haven from the crazy world outside, with or without the fear of zombies. Bartenders wear white button-down shirts and red ties, like Shaun did in inspirational film, Shaun of the Dead. The bar concocts horror drinks like Dark and Stormy, The Zombie and zombie poison cocktails. To make you feel even safer, there is a chainsaw encased in glass with the words, “in case of zombie attack break glass” written on it. When the zombie apocalypse finally does happen–and it will–we’re coming here.