10 Totally Unusual Bars in the US

If you’re going to indulge in a delicious cocktail, don’t just go to the dive bar down the block. Make your happy hour way — and we mean WAY — more interesting by visiting one of these 10 crazy themed bars across the country. From San Francisco to New York City, these drinking establishments are soooooo worth the trip (and the hangover, unless you prevent it like an adult). You can watch “living” mermaids, travel back in time or find a safe haven after the zombie apocalypse. There REALLY is a weird bar for everyone! —By Sunny Chanel, freelance writer and founder of Wonder and Company

  1. Beetle House

    Beetle House

    New York, New York

    1. A Tim Burton themed bar? Yes, please! The newly-opened Beetle House NYC in NYC’s East Village is a gin-soaked tribute to the quirky filmmakers and his oh-so-peculiar films. This bar and grill serves up drinks like We Come in Peace (Mars Attacks-inspired Stoli salted caramel vodka and rum chata cocktail), This Is Halloween (The Nightmare Before Christmas cocktail with pumpkin, apple, ginger and cinnamon) and the Fleet Street Martini (Sweeney Todd). For grub, you can dive into entrees like the Edward Burger Hands (Edward Scissorhands) and their Eggs Skellington (The Nightmare Before Christmas).

  2. Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar

    Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki...

    Anaheim, California

    2. The Passionate Python, the Mosquito Mojito and the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum are just a few of the tropical delights mixed up at the Disneyland Hotel’s tiki bar. Reminiscent of a tiki dive bar, this UBER popular hot spot has all sorts of little surprises, like slowly sinking bar stools to special drink effects (order the Shipwreck on the Rocks and you’ll see, oh, you’ll see).

  3. The Safe House

    The Safe House

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    3. It’s a safe bet that ordering a martini — shaken, not stirred (ALA 007) — will be met with mad props at this spy–themed bar. To gain entry to this hangout for would-be operatives, you must give the doorman a password (or do oddball stunts to get in). Throughout the restaurant, you’ll find closed-circuit televisions, so that you can witness the goofiness that people perform to get in. There’s spy-related memorabilia all around and various rooms to explore, plus a full menu fit for secret agents, so you’ll be entertained and fed while you sip your cocktail of choice.

  4. Mutts Canine Cantina

    Mutts Canine Cantina

    Dallas, Texas

    4. Grab a drink with man’s best friend. No, no, not one of your human buddies, but with your pup. At Mutt’s Canine Cantina, you can down a bottle of Lone Star or sip a glass of Chardonnay in their very dog–friendly beer and wine garden. Not only do they serve up adult beverages, but they sell food for you and your fur baby. Hot dog! (Literally, they sell hot dogs for all).

  5. Brooklyn Athletic Club

    Brooklyn Athletic Club

    Houston, Texas

    5. First off, the Brooklyn Athletic Club is not in Brooklyn — it’s in Houston. Second, they use the term “athletic” loosely. There are no free weights, elliptical machines or saunas here. Rather, bocce ball, ping pong and a putting green (AKA things you can do with a drink in hand) are the sports of choice here. Along with their hand–crafted cocktails and craft beers, you can indulge in some Frito pie or fried jalapeno chips to refuel if your table tennis game gets a bit competitive.

  6. Stay Classy New York

    Stay Classy New York

    New York, New York

    6. Yes, a Will Ferrell bar exists, and man, is it popular. People line up to grab one of the signature cocktails such as the You’re My Boy Blue, Frank the Tank, and Did We Just Become Best Friends? — all inspired by lines from Ferrell’s extensive oeuvre. And the Ferrell worship doesn’t stop there. Stay Classy New York hosts some rambunctious Will Ferrell trivia nights and Elf themed holiday parties.

  7. The Wreck Bar

    The Wreck Bar

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    7. Have a thing for mermaids? If so, you need to run (or better yet, swim really fast), not walk, to The Wreck Bar. Located in the vintage B Hotel and Resorts (near the Yankee Clipper Hotel), this tropical–themed bar features windows that look into the hotel’s pool, where you’ll see a weekend show of “living mermaids” doing their thing. And yes, your mermaid tights will be definite crowd pleasers.

  8. Donny Dirk's Zombie Den

    Donny Dirk's Zombie Den

    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    8. If you can’t get enough of The Walking Dead, Shaun of the Dead or The Night of the Living Dead, then you should get your undead self on over to Donny Dirk’s kitschy Zombie Den. The Corpse Reviver, Gorefied and The Damned are a few of the libations they serve up. Warning: It’s a bit creepy to have the zombie heads on the walls watching you drink. Zombie-hunters welcome.

  9. Edison


    Los Angeles, California

    9. Thomas Edison, the inventor of many things, including the electric light bulb, is the highlight of this bar in the hot DTLA neighborhood. Fittingly located in the first private power plant, bartenders here pour vintage cocktails and themed originals (drawing inspo from famous authors and such) in a luxurious 1920s-style lounge. There’s even a winged Absinthe Fairy that wheels an absinthe cart around the club.

  10. Wilson & Wilson

    Wilson & Wilson

    San Francisco, California

    10. This is a speakeasy within a speakeasy. The Wilson and Wilson Detective Agency is inside the popular “speakeasy” Bourbon and Branch. To gain entry, you give them a secret password (which you receive when you make your reservation). Then, you’re presented with a case file and the drink menu, which totally gives you that whole detective/Sam Spade vibe.


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