If you see Jack Skellington strolling down Hollywood Boulevard, don’t be surprised if he won’t pose for a picture: he might headed to Beetle House LA, a new Tim Burton-themed bar opening on May 20. Zach Neil built the first Beetle House in New York last year and filled it with vintage chandeliers, shrunken heads, and Civil war-era medical equipment. “It’s antiques and relics,” says Neil. “It’s an unusual oddities parlor.” The Los Angeles edition will be built inside the Prospect Theater, complete with an interactive version of the miniature town where Beetlejuice lives built on the stage. Patrons can pose among the tombstones, but watch out for unexpected guests. “We have a lot of actors working with us to create an authentic experience,” says Neil. “You’re eating dinner and this psycho Beetlejuice guy with a hand buzzer is sitting at your table eating off your plate.”
The food and drinks are also part of the show, with black-and-white cocktails, drinks made with apple cider and pumpkin spice, and look out for black ice cubes. Their best selling sandwich is a two pounder called “Edward Burgerhands.” All this set to the Ramones, the Misfits, Skinny Puppy, and Danny Elfman scores playing in the background. Who’d a thunk it?
Neil and his partners were also responsible for Stay Classy, a Will Ferrell-themed bar that popped up at the Chinese theater last year. The team continues to open pop-up bars around the country. Beetle House New York was scheduled for a 45-day run and has been open for more than a year; the owners are planning on a similar temporary roll out for Los Angeles with an extension if the bar gains traction.
The New York location draws a mix of tourists and eccentric East Village locals, and Neil expects the same crowd in Hollywood. “We have a super big following in the gay community,” he says. “We get a lot of drag queens, jugglers, fire breathers, magicians, and fortunetellers. They all tell us they feel at home there.” The one person who has yet to visit is the dark director himself. “We keep waiting for him to walk through the door,” Neil says. “He spends more time in Hollywood than New York, so that’d be fantastic.”