A Bar for Dark Souls: Beetle House LA


Those living in the New York City area may already know about the hideout dedicated to all things spooky and Tim Burton – Beetle House. Creator Zach Neil decided to give the City of Angels a taste of this wonderfully macabre establishment (much to my delight) by opening what was supposed to be only a pop-up location on Hollywood Boulevard back in May of 2017. A year later, the joint is still open and going strong. I’ve had the opportunity to visit this niche a couple of times and want to share my experience for anyone curious to know more about it.

If you’re a passerby, it’s easy to miss the bar as the entrance is a bit inconspicuous, except for a small sign above the door marking the spot as the portal to Beetle House. My utter fascination with Tim Burton dates to 1993, the year The Nightmare Before Christmas was released. I was eight and my mom took me to see the film. Pondering back, that was probably the moment the gothic seed was planted in my mind and soul. After seeing the movie, I began to voraciously ingest Burton’s work, from Beetlejuice to Edward Scissorhands to Corpse Bride and Dark Shadows. You get the picture. I’m kind of obsessed and the little kid inside me wanted to jump up and down with excitement as I walked through the door and up the dark-lit stairwell.

Mr. Wonka welcoming me to his other "factory"
Mr. Wonka welcoming me to his other “factory”

When I reached the top of the stairs, I was greeted by Willy Wonka! An impersonator of course, and a mighty good one if I do say so myself. He was witty and had a sly sense of humor. The place is divided into two spaces – the bar, which is the first room patrons walk into, and the dining area, which is hidden from view and requires reservations. My husband and I had reserved a table, so a hostess guided us beyond a pair of curtains to a sizable dining room. At the helm was a stage and screen playing clips from various Tim Burton films. It was awesome!

The restaurant featured a prix fixe menu, which included an appetizer and main course. There were tasty bites such as the Corprese Bride Salad, Edward Burger Hands and Cheshire Mac & Cheese. The cocktails sounded sinfully tempting with names like Coco Skellington and This is Halloween. My husband and I shared the Big Fish Bowl, and as the name suggests, this adult beverage is more than enough for two. It is a mix of coconut rum, vodka, gin, tequila, blue curacao and pineapple juice. Don’t order one all to yourself unless you want to look like Beetlejuice at the end of the night. There was also an entertaining freak show, where one young woman inserted a sharp-edged sword down her esophagus and another who danced around a ring of fire.

Ready to dive into our Big Fish Bowl cocktail
Ready to dive into our Big Fish Bowl cocktail

After dinner, we went back out to the bar which was like walking into my dream midnight haunt! Walls are covered with images from Tim Burton’s popular films. Cobwebs, rustic chandeliers, skulls and a menagerie of creepy pieces decorated the bar. And music from his movies as well as gothic tunes blared from the speakers. You can choose from several dark corners to lounge, socialize and imbibe in drinks. I even had a photo op with Mr. Scissorhands.

Some of the art work decorating the wall of Beetle House
Some of the art work decorating the wall of Beetle House

Although the Los Angeles Beetle House location was supposed to be just a pop-up, it seems that it’s here to stay. If you’re in the area make sure to stop in, if only to have a drink at the bar and take in the scenery. I can’t express enough how much I enjoyed myself here. To quote Lydia in the film Beetlejuice, “I myself am strange and unusual,” and this enclave felt like home.

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