Why ought to trick-or-treaters have all of the enjoyable?
This trio of atmospheric Bay Space bars ramps up its thrills every fall with skeletons, haunts and loads of whimsy. Get pleasure from these spirits — each the cocktail and ghost varieties — whereas chasing spooky vibes at a cavern tavern in Oakland, a tiki-slinging aircraft wreck in San Francisco or a subterranean speakeasy in San Mateo.
Final Rites, San Francisco
Tiki meets terror at Final Rites, a plane-crash themed bar in San Francisco’s Duboce Triangle. Impressed by Select-Your-Personal-Journey dime novels, each side of the house is supposed to immerse you on this twisted story.
As you enter, you’ll should remind your self that you’re not a easy bargoer. You are actually a crash survivor, stranded in a dense, Polynesian rainforest. Make your means by way of the stone passages, discover a spot to sit down alongside the jungle cover, pay tribute to the fire-breathing cranium statues or order a drink from the airplane fuselage-turned bar. Surrounded by particular results — together with a thundering sound system, flashing lights and phantom fog — you’ll rapidly neglect the world you as soon as knew.
Whereas Final Rites delivers frights year-round, proprietor Justin Lew says they kick it up a notch round Halloween with their “Final Ritual” theme. Along with tropical terrors, the bar can be adorned in late October with even darker decor together with burning effigies and witches’ bundles.
What to drink: From the Zombie Killer to the Emerald Eclipse and Blood Moon, this bar boasts dozens of rums and tropical cocktails. The menu reads like a e book catalog, the place each drink is its personal journey story, full with fictional characters, spooky synopses and artistic covers. The true jewel of the jungle is the Caldera’s Curse ($55), a communal drink-in-a-bowl for the entire desk, set ablaze by roving waiters.
What to eat: The bar affords one meals choice — a bowl of wonton chips with Asian chili umami seasoning, however it’s low-cost ($5). If you happen to order just a few for the desk, you need to have sufficient rations to maintain your tropical trek.
Particulars: Open from 6 p.m. to midnight Tuesday-Wednesday, till 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday and 5 p.m. to midnight on Sunday at 718 14th St., San Francisco; lastritesbar.com.
The Avenue, Oakland
Let’s rely the issues that visually assault you moving into The Avenue. A congregation of scary, fanged clowns. An alien post-mortem in a foil-lined working room. Hannibal Lecter staring out from a cell, and a roach-infested hoarder’s hovel with the graffiti, “I can hear them within the partitions.”
And that’s simply within the first room – there’s loads extra to astound and terrify within the again.
For nearly a decade, Curtis and Tana Howard have gone all-out – to more and more ridiculous levels – to rework Oakland’s premier rocker bar right into a gory Halloween jamboree.
“We now have conversations about what we’re going to do beginning in August. We brainstorm what we’ve in storage and what the themes are going to be in numerous components of the bar,” says Tana. “It must be both bloody or ripped or slightly soiled or, in my case, black. If you happen to have a look at our home it positively has quite a lot of black, and it’s nearly like a museum with all of the bizarre stuff in it.” (Can affirm: The Howards actually do stay inside an alternate model of their Halloween bar.)
“All of the dolls within the again room, I ‘hand-spooked’ them – bought them at thrift shops and made them scary individually,” says Tana. “Curt’s concept for spooking the dolls was, ‘Why don’t we simply bury them within the yard for a pair weeks?’ However I believed that may be gross, including a stink element.”
“I did as soon as purchase a scent for our smoke machine, and that went slightly bit south,” says Curtis. “It was a zombie scent, and it simply smelled similar to lifeless rat.”
“I believe it was referred to as Dystopia,” says Tana.
Then there are the Halloween-themed occasions. This yr, the bar is staging “31 Days of Horror” with a unique horror film enjoying each night time of October. There’s additionally a photograph sales space that’s super-popular with individuals in costumes and, on Halloween itself, a fancy dress contest the place people convey their ghoulish A-games to win money prizes.
What to drink: You received’t discover any hoity-toity drinks right here. The pleasant bartenders will combine no matter fundamental cocktail you want, however the default is often a beer and a shot. For Halloween, the bar is doing a combo referred to as the American Werewolf, which is a Coors Gentle and shot of silver tequila.
What to eat: Outdoors meals is allowed, and there’s a pizza place and ramen joint close by.
Particulars: Open 3 p.m.-1 a.m. every day at 4822 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; theavenuebar.internet.
Wunderbar, San Mateo
Probably the most tough a part of stepping into this intimate, reservations-only underground speakeasy is scoring a reservation through Tock. The subsequent problem? Discovering the doorway to the bar.
Head for the examine in station at Wursthall — sure, the German-inspired spot based by chef Kenji Lòpez-Alt — and say you’re right here for Wunderbar. Then stroll to the again of the beer corridor and comply with the white rabbit signage down a staircase, move by way of a doorway guarded by thick crimson velvet drapes and contact the glowing white rabbit. Behold: The door springs open, revealing a subterranean speakeasy that seems like a hip library lounge, however one with witchy undertones and the unmistakable scent of buttered popcorn.
The menu at Wunderbar, which opened in late 2021, is a hoop of tarot-esque playing cards with traditional cocktails depicted on one aspect and an outline of the bar’s spin on the drink on the flip aspect, all embellished with gorgeously rendered artwork.
What to drink: Attempt the Misplaced at Sea, made with a home rum mix, tepache, pandan, cream of coconut and citrus ($15). There’s beer on faucet, too, wine and mocktails, just like the tangy non-alcoholic Clever Girl, made with blackberry, sage, lemon, cane and tonic ($8).
What to eat: The buttered popcorn is free. Afterward, head upstairs for Wursthall’s German-style sausages, pretzels and extra.
Particulars: Open from 4:30 to 11 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday and till 11:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday at 310½ Baldwin Ave. in San Mateo; www.wunderbarsm.com.