Crazy themed bars from around the world always grab our attention, from the ICEBAR in Sweden to the Ninja Bar in Japan. But you don’t have to travel overseas to get a dose of strange on your night out. There are a surprisingly large number of wacky themed bars in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. If you’re looking to add some interest to a regular night of drinking, embrace the weirder side of the Big Apple by checking out these 10 unusual themed Brooklyn bars.
Really Dough's Mark & Scott Take a Bunch of Shots, Do Blind Pizza Taste Test, Argue a Lot
No, the theme of this bar isn’t an elaborate Indiana Jones-style setup where you have to avoid trip wires and risk spilling your cocktail. The theme is actually boobs, and it’s not as creepy as it sounds. The bar is owned by a woman named Kristen North and is meant to be a celebration, not a fetishization, of lovely lady lumps. At this otherwise no-frills dive, you’ll find fake breasts of all shapes and sizes adorning the walls and dangling from the bathroom ceiling, a topless (and limbless) mannequin behind the bar, and a collection of coloring book sheets encouraging patrons to “color my boobs!”
The walls may not be covered in books like some of the more common library bars, but literary nerds will still be delighted at the subtle novel theme present at the intimate Wolf & Deer bar. The drinks menu is printed on pages inside a thick tome of classic literature, and all of the cocktails are homages to written works—both in name and in theme—like The Little Mermaid, made with pineapple rum, sherry, blue curaçao and Swedish fish. You can even order a plate of fried oysters dubbed the Walrus & the Carpenter.
This dystopian, space-age lounge would feel like a nuclear fallout shelter, if it weren’t for the people dancing the night away on the disco floor. The cocktails are displayed on a computer screen in blinking green hacker-type and have names like Sonic Sunset and Demon Tied to a Chair in My Brain. You may even see a few people leaning into the sci-fi theme with metallic outfits and neon wigs.
People that not-so secretly wish they were mermaids will love this maritime-themed bar, which features elaborate mermaid murals, nautical cocktails and a whole lot of live ocean swimmers. An indoor aquarium filled with tropical fish is perched above the bar, and a backyard pond is home to exotic koi fish. You can also order plenty of seafood dishes like fish tacos, clam rolls and crab rangoon.
If you hear Brooklyn locals reminiscing about “this one time at camp,” chances are they aren’t talking about their summer playing the oboe. The bar Camp recreates those youthful summer camp vibes with deer heads, canoes and tree-printed wallpaper adorning the lodge-like space. Play a card game near the wood-burning fire and order a marshmallow-topped Martini that comes with a side of fixings to roast your own s’mores over a miniature stove.
Half bar, half museum of curiosities, the ultra-macabre House of Wax is certainly not for the faint of heart. Unsettling wax heads are displayed in glass cases a la Game of Thrones’ Hall of Faces, along with graphic anatomical waxworks that could creep out even the most dedicated science fanatics. If that sort of freakiness is your thing, by all means linger in the museum portion. If not, proceed directly to the bar to drown yourself in Victorian-themed cocktails.
Whovians rejoice: There is a Doctor Who-themed bar in Brooklyn that has somehow not received a cease-and-desist letter from the BBC. Willing companions will love their “Sonic Screwdriver” menu that’s filled with cocktails dedicated to each of the doctors, as well as a genuine blue police box Tardis in the middle of the bar (we promise it’s bigger on the inside).
This “cocktail laboratory” definitely has a scientific theme, but it’s subtle enough that you don’t feel like you’re in Frankenstein’s lab. All of the drinks, which have names like “Lab Rat” and “Empirical Formula,” are poured from taps and served in real beakers. People who struggle at picking a cocktail will be delighted to use their Decision Maker: a hand-drawn flowchart that methodically helps you figure out what you’re in the mood for by answering questions like “boozy or refreshing?” And if none of that looks good at the moment, ask to view their secret menu, which can only be revealed under the glow of a blacklight.
For a true taste of authentic tiki on the East Coast, hit up the beloved Zombie Hut, a Polynesian paradise situated in the decidedly less tropical neighborhood of Carroll Gardens. In the small, kistchy space, you’ll find bamboo walls, tiki masks, grass skirts hanging from the bar, tables shaped like surfboards, and a backyard filled with twinkle lights. Order a namesake Zombie or one of their flaming Scorpion Bowls.
Comic book enthusiasts don’t need a bat signal to draw them into this bar. The Gotham City Lounge features comic book memorabilia and murals all around the space, from actual vintage publications to paraphernalia like a Superman bust smashing through the wall and Captain America’s shield behind the bar. Embrace your inner nerd and tuck into a board game, a round of trivia or even the occasional cosplay contest.