Any soul with a penchant for the strange and unusual has heard of Beetle House. Founder Zach Neil opened the first location in New York and brought it to the City of Angels in 2017. The restaurant and bar pay homage to the macabre and keep the spooky spirit alive year-round. All, from the ambience and décor to the menu and cocktails, is inspired by figures such as Tim Burton, Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker and Alfred Hitchcock. Horror, the goth aesthetic and the bizarre are exuded at each corner. Here, every day is Halloween.
Update as of 4/2021: after being closed for a year due to COVID-19, the restaurant is now open for indoor dining and is accepting reservations!
The establishment moved from its original location to a new and bigger spot, offering more delectable dark delights. The revamped lounge made its grand debut on June 29th, 2019 and I paid a visit.
Before entering the main bar, a woman clad in black greeted patrons. She explained to us that we must conjure Beetlejuice to gain entrance into what lay beyond the bookcase. We chanted “Beetlejuice” three times in unison and the portal opened.
Stepping inside, I was absolutely transported. Dark artwork inspired by Tim Burton characters hung on walls, soft red and purple lighting imbued the restaurant and Edward Scissorhands interacted with guests. One of the qualities that makes Beetle House so special is that it does an excellent job of immersing people in the experience. Don’t be surprised to see Beetlejuice, the Joker or Catwoman parading around. The master of ceremonies, Richard Lael Lillard, who is also an impeccable Willy Wonka, ensured everyone was having the best time possible, entertaining with his wit and clever tongue.
The restaurant offers dinner reservations for those who want to enjoy a three-course meal and Freak Show. The cost is $40 or $45 depending on which menu option you choose. Dishes are inspired by Tim Burton films and include Cheshire Mac n’ Cheese, Edward Burger Hands, Corprese Bride Salad and Franken Fries.
The bar area and outdoor patio require no prior booking or admission fee and are open to the public. Imbibe in cocktails such as The Beetle’s Juice, Alice’s Cup O’ Tea and Edward’s Lemonade. I ordered the This Is Halloween beverage, which was a concoction of Fireball, Sour Apple, Pumpkin Liqueur and Apple Cider. Patrons can still attend the Freak Show without reservations by purchasing tickets at the bar for $20.
The Freak Show should not be missed. Sir Richard Lael Lillard provided introductions and Micah Cover from the famous Magic Castle was the host. Magical acts and an entrancing fire dance were performed. Time slots are 7:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 10:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. and acts may vary. You could witness sword swallowers, psychics, mentalists, contortionists and more!
Parents will be delighted to know that Beetle House is kid-friendly and there were plenty of families on the evening of my visit.
I applaud Zach Neil and his squad for creating such an enchanting atmosphere in a short amount of time. There was only a span of about two weeks from the closing of the original location to the opening of the new one. As someone who has felt like an outcast because “I myself am strange and unusual,” this is a haven for those of us who embrace the odd, the macabre and the eccentric. Beetle House welcomes you with open claws.
Discover more details at the official website.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to experience the first location, check out this blog post.