Some ideas are amazing. Putting salt around the rim of a Margarita to balance the sweet and sour, for example. Some… not so much (we’re looking at your Gal Gadot and your cringe-fest of a quarantine vid, shudder).
So we’d have loved to have been in the concept meeting for these themed bars. Taiwanese urine beer, you say? Sure.
Read on and try to guess the ones that a) are live and kicking IRL, b) are made up by BarChick and c) were open and then sadly had to close because… well, they’re insane.
Roll-on up to this clinical bar in Singapore. No seriously, you'll be sitting in actual wheelchairs. We've all had those nights on the lash when you've felt like you need medical assistance the next day, but this place offers a version during your sesh. You can drink shots from syringes, long cocktails in IV bags and test tubes, and the staff are wearing hospital whites, obvs. Wanna relax with your bae and not feeling the wheelchair passion? Head to one of the hospital beds/gurneys to chill. When your date asks if you wanna play doctors and nurses, it takes on a whole new meaning.
Fans of Buffy = rejoice. This is the gothic haven you've been dreaming of. The decor is channeling Dracula's boudoir - red velvet everywhere, a carpet decorated with blood cells, blood-spattered basins in the rest-rooms. You know that crazy mate who always goes way overboard on Halloween decorations? They might have met their match - this is wall-to-wall coffins, cobwebs, and creepy curious. You get the picture. You can drink 'blood' Sangria and the dishes follow a similar theme. Even the waiters are dressed up like something from a Twilight convention. Slap on your eyeliner, channel your inner-14-year-old-Emo, and vamp it up.
Banquette or bunker? You choose at this Australian bar that's perplexingly themed around post-war divided Germany. Because of all the ideas in the world, this is totally normal. If you wanna hang out in West with the Allies, you'll relax on plush white banquettes behind crystal curtains, surrounded by ornate gilded mirrors. Whereas East is a little more... uh, somber. Black steel bunk beds, exposed dangling lamp bulbs and scratchy wool blankets set the scene. Come for the communism, stay for the cocktails.
Forget Peter Pan, Wendy, and the Lost Boys - this is where the grown-ups play, away from those pesky flying children. Outrageously opulent and downright OTT, Hook's is where we hit up in NYC. It's designed to look like the nefarious captain's study. Loads of mahogany with maps all over the wall and sharing cocktails served in crystal decanters. The menu is a map of Neverland with each of the cocktails inspired by a different area - we love the sound of the Mezcal-based 'Mermaid Lagoon'. Happy hour is announced by the ticking of a clock playing over the speakers (swallowed by the croc that ate his hand, remember?). The best place to get p*ssed as a sailor, for sure.
It's a bar in Manilla, it's based on Tolkien's epic trilogy, and all the staff are dwarves. Not only that, but it's been around since the early 70s. Pictures of hobbits and leprechauns line the walls, as well as loads of photos of celebs who have visited. The most famous drink is the 'Weng-Weng', named after either the 2'9" Fillipino James Bond movie character 'Weng Weng' (who starred in For Y'ur Height Only) or the local slang for someone who's really blotto. No one knows which. What we do know is that it's a savage combo of rum, gin, vodka, tequila, brandy and scotch. Ouch. What's more, Hobbit House is a banging live music and entertainment venue - you can see a hobbit Elvis impersonator, hobbit jugglers, comics, dancers, flame-eaters, and singers. Now there's a night out.
We've all been in a bar that's a converted WC, sure. This is entirely different. It's a restaurant where everything is themed about cr*p. Hold us back. You sit on an actual toilet, the walls are like bathroom tiles, and you eat over a sink. Dishes include - wait for it - handmade meat/shitballs, spicy toilet beef curry and a dried-up constipation brownie. Don't forget the complimentary soft-serve chocolate ice cream at the end - served, obviously, in the shape of the curly emoji poop. But it's the drinks we're here for - choose from bleeding hemorrhoid strawberry milk, diarrhea cocoa and Taiwanese urine beer. Nope, we're not taking the piss.
A bar that's themed around... snakes and rodeo. No, we don't quite get the connection either. Snakes are long and wiggly and so are lassos?? We wouldn't want to mix them up, that's for sure. Videos of rodeos past play on a big screen, there's a f*ck ton of cowboy memorabilia lining the walls (stetsons, spurs and vintage posters), and yes there are actual live snakes in glass containers behind the bar. The pride and joy is a selection of 'just for show' spirits with pickled reptiles inside. Good grief.
Located in the HR Giger Museum in Gruyères, this drinking establishment bonely goes where no bar has gone before. What's more, it's not any old skeleton-themed bar - it's an alien-skeleton themed bar. Howzat for creepy/creative? Humungous vertebrae crisscross the arches of the vaulted ceiling and you're cocooned inside a giant ribcage. You kinda feel like you've been swallowed whole and are boozing in some freaky creature's belly. You know what? We're into it.
If any actor deserves a bar dedicated to them, it's Bill Murray. The man's an undisputed ledge. This cocktail spot in Cape Town merges all his best films - Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, The Life Aquatic... we could go on... and has become a temple to the iconic actor. They have themed brunches for different films, the cocktails reference all the characters he's played, and they even have a Bill Bingo night. Rumour has it once a year Mr Murray comes and does a guest shift at the bar but doesn't tell anyone in advance - not even the owners. That's so Bill.
The Clinic: Ah what a concept. Sadly The Clinic recently flat-lined and has closed its doors. It joins other hospital-themed bars such as Damien Hurst's Pharmacy that couldn't be resuscitated. The world's just not ready for these medical mash-ups.
Vampire Cafe: It's true - you can actually head to this themed cafe/restaurant in Ginza. Visit and you'll no doubt be saying fangs for the memories.
Berlin Bar: Believe it or not, this is another real place. Berlin Bar is 'where Capitalist opulence confronts Communist austerity'. Cold War cocktails never seemed so appealing.
Hook's: Sorry guys, you can't drink in a pirate study, more's the pity. We made this one up. BUT if you wanna taste of that Peter Pan lifestyle, head to London Cocktail Club in Bristol. Their MO is 'Twisted Ode To Neverland at Night'. Peter and the Lost Boys might be minors for eternity, but that doesn't stop you getting on the sauce.
Hobbit House: Yikes, it seems this Tolkein-themed bar closed its teeny doors for the last time back in 2018. Was it controversial? Probably. Do we wish we'd have a chance to get slaughtered on the Weng-Weng? Deffo.
Modern Toilet Restaurant: So utterly barmy that even we couldn't make it up. It's a place, people. Shit-shaped ice cream? The experience you never knew you needed in your life.
Serpents At The Rodeo: Another BarChick original. No, there's not a bar that pays homage to cowboys and real-life slithery snakes. Anyone wanna crowd-fund with us? Anyone?
The Museum HR Giger Bar: Make no bones about it, you can actually booze in this awesome bar. Think you recognise the kinda creepy skeleton shape? H.R. Giger is the imagination behind the original creature in the Alien film. Now you see it.
Bill's Bar: Sadly there is no bar dedicated to Bill Murray that we know of - yet. But with icons all over the world getting their own bar, surely it won't be long? Take for example Dolly's in Brooklyn (vintage Dolly Parton records line the bathrooms and there is, of course, a jukebox to crank up her classics). Or, for a full-on random night, head to the DM Baar in Estonia. It's dedicated entirely to Depeche Mode. Um, okay. If it's Mr Murray you're particularly interested in then check out Murray Bros. Caddyshack in Rosemont. Opened by Bill and his family, it's a laid-back spot named after the star's famous 1980s golfing comedy. The next best thing to sinking a few shots with the dude himself.