"Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice." Any Tim Burton fan knows that this name said three times in succession will conjure up Betelgeuse, the hilarious ghost from Tim Burton's 1988 comedy Beetlejuice, played by the one and only Michael Keaton.
This time, instead of summoning Keaton—in one of his best and perhaps most underrated roles—these words have spawned a new bar opening this month in New York's East Village. The name? Beetle House. The theme? Tim Burton everything.
Both the drinks and the food are named after some of Burton's greatest hits. True fans will pick up on the more discrete references, like the rye-based cocktail called It's Showtime (a Beetlejuice quote) and Sparky's Minty Margarita (based on the dog in Frankenweenie), while most patrons should pick up on the more obvious references to big blockbuster remakes like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland (Cheshire Mac, anyone?). There are even references to cult hits, like Mars Attacks! and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Much of the food menu is named for Sweeney Todd, which may or may not fittingly gross you out.
"All meat sourced locally from 100 percent innocent humans captured wild on the streets of NYC," the menu reads. But don't worry. Then comes "Actually organic, chemical free meats, (V) can substitute vegetarian."
Themed bars are popping up in greater numbers these days. The owners of Beetle House already have a Will Ferrell-themed bar called Stay Classy. A Marie Antoinette-inspired speakeasy called Boudoir recently opened in Brooklyn. From one point of view, this trend is bringing back the fun into dining and nightlife that New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells has vocally been missing (and found in Señor Frogs). From a different standpoint, it's just another example of blurring lines between food and amusement. Think, the onslaught of rainbow foods, sky-high milkshakes and other Instagram-driven menu items.
Are we doomed to live in a world where every bar and restaurant are based on some sort of extravagant, eye-popping creation or pop-culture reference? Sounds like a dystopian Burton movie in the making.
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