Author: Ariel Landrum
Creating bars, oftentimes temporary, pointed to specific pop culture themes has become a booming craze. From last year’s Will Ferrell-obsessed bar, Stay Classy Bar, to the current Scum & Villainy Cantina, catered towards Star Wars fans, it seems this trend won’t end soon. Shoot, I attended the Game Of Thrones Pop-Up Bar created by Drink Company and Ommegang Brewery in Washington last week.
As the nostalgia generation grows into adulthood, bringing the feeling of familiar fun into an adult space is all too alluring. Thus comes the new nightlife experience to take over Hollywood, Beetle House LA. Honoring the work of Tim Burton, this bar highlights his gothic, quirky, and eccentric universes.
Though the space is named after one of Burton’s well-known characters, the venue celebrates almost all of his work, from the themed drinks, such as “This is Halloween,” a nod to Nightmare Before Christmas, to food, such as “James and the Giant Peach Salad,” after the claymation film of the same name.
Walk-ins are welcomed, but guests must make a reservation online on Yelp to try the food. Other Yelpers keyed us in that there is a three-course prix fixe menu, and the meal price range was either $40 or $45; pretty pricey. The People of Con Team debated whether we wanted to go all out and ultimately decided that no review would give our readers justice if it didn’t include the food.
We arrived an hour before our reservation time to allow for parking and waiting in line. After showing our IDs, we walked past large mission-style doors, up two flights of stairs, and were completely immersed in a world of pure imagination. Stepping into the space is overwhelming. The black lights, costumed characters, and artwork lining all the walls (which were donated by local artists) will make any Burton fan scream with joy.
The main entryway includes a bar, while the lounge is to the right, and the dining space is to the left. The lounge area has various seating arrangements and a giant sculptural wall motif of the spiral hill Jack Skellington walks on during his solo song in Nightmare Before Christmas. Though there are many spaces one can take photos in this backdrop is one of the most eye-catching.
Once it was our reservation time, we were taken through the mouth of the beast to enter a large space filled with tables, a giant screen, and a stage. We were seated fairly close to the front, enjoying the evening’s activities. The dinner, which we were unaware of, included a show! The stage was filled with live-action performers carrying out tricks, such as swallowing swords, throwing flaming batons, and walking on glass. There were also plenty of sexual innuendos throughout each bit. Costumed actors engaged with guests at their table between performances, indulging them with jokes and photos.
The screen played a montage of clips from Burton’s films. The most popular was the musical scene from Beetlejuice, as guests were invited on stage to dance and sing Harry Belafonte’s Banana Boat Song (Day O).
The evening was almost perfect; the downside to the experience was the food. All the portions were awkward in size and mediocre in flavor. The most popular dish to order was the Edward Burger Hands. Many guests before us ordered this bulky cheeseburger, not for its roasted peppers and honey-toasted bun but for the pure silliness of having a pair of scissors lodged in the middle to hold it together. This was the meal’s only “wow” factor, which ended in a sloppy mess.
What did hit the mark were the establishment’s drinks. Most of them are boozy and sweet cocktails guaranteed to give patrons a fun buzz. A fan favorite was the Big Fish Bowl: a mix of coconut rum, vodka, gin, tequila, blue Curacao, and pineapple juice. It’s served in a large goblet meant for sharing and glows neon aquamarine in the black lights.
Though the food was subpar, the atmosphere and the drinks make up for it 10-fold. Our suggestion, do a walk-in. Costumed characters and performers roam the lounge and bar space, so all you’re missing is an overpriced meal.
Check out more photos from the event!:
Note: We quickly realized that the lighting is dim throughout, and what light is present has a purple hue. Our suggestion, have someone point their phone flashlight at you while you take a picture. This may be the best way to get an Instagram-worthy shot.
Beetle House LA
Address: 6356 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
Phone: (929) 291-0337